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Kofuku-ji Temple

Art meets history at this UNESCO Heritage Site.

Kofuku-ji Temple is among the most famous temples in Nara and is one of the city’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its spectacular five-storied pagoda is as much a symbol of the city as the adorable deer wandering around in front of it.

Eleven buildings make up the temple grounds today.

The temple was founded in 710 – when Nara became Japan’s capital – by the powerful Fujiwara family. At the height of their influence, Kofuku-ji was a sprawling complex of over 150 buildings, although unfortunately fires and the anti-Buddhist policies of the Meiji period have since greatly reduced this number to the 11 that remain today.

Unlike most other temples, there is no imposing main gate marking the entrance – you might even find yourself on the temple grounds without realizing it! Don’t be fooled, however, as there’s plenty here worth visiting.

Kofukuji’s To-kondo (East Golden Hall).

The National Treasure Museum houses an impressive and world-famous collection of Buddhist art and artifacts, while the five-storied pagoda is the second-tallest in the country at just over 50 meters. The Eastern Golden Hall contains more Buddhist statues, and the temple complex also features a three-storied pagoda plus a number of other halls and an ancient bathhouse.

Kofuku-ji’s convenient location in the heart of Nara means it can easily be included on a day trip to the city, alongside the nearby Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha and Nara Park.

Please note: The Central Golden Hall is undergoing reconstruction and scheduled to be closed until October 2018.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

The temple grounds are free to enter and open 24 hours a day. The National Treasure Museum requires a ¥600 entrance fee. The Eastern Golden Hall is ¥300. Both tourists attractions are usually open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A combined ticket for the two is also available for ¥800.

How To Get There


Japan, 〒630-8213 Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Noboriōjichō, 東金堂

By bus

Access by taking the Nara City Loop Line Bus number 2 from JR Nara station or Kintetsu Nara station. You can also ride any of the buses heading to Kasuga Taisha and get off at Kencho-mae stop. It takes approximately 5 minutes and the bus ticket costs ¥210.

By foot

Kofuku-ji is accessible on foot from both JR Nara and Kintetsu Nara stations. From Kintetsu Nara, head east for a few minutes and then turn right into the temple complex. From JR Nara walk east along Sanjo Dori for about 15 minutes and then turn left into the temple complex when you reach Sarusawa Pond.

Where To Stay

Sarusawaike Yoshidaya
  • 246 Takabatakecho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8301 Japan
  • ¥18,700 - ¥18,700
  • 4.32/5 (370 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Hotel Tenpyo Naramachi
  • 1-1 Taruicho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8218 Japan
  • ¥11,385 - ¥39,420
  • 4.45/5 (155 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Hotel Obana
  • 1110 Takabatakecho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8301 Japan
  • ¥9,130 - ¥33,660
  • 4.47/5 (625 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Shisui Luxury Collection Hotel Nara
  • 62 Noboriojicho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8213 Japan
  • ¥69,449 - ¥326,750
  • 0.4 km
Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or
  • 15 Higashimuki Kitamachi, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8214 Japan
  • ¥2,470 - ¥15,200
  • 4.46/5 (280 reviews)
  • 0.4 km

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