Plenty of people know that Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan, but were you aware that the city of Nara once held that honor? Todaiji Temple was built in 752 AD, during that golden age of the city. It served as the one temple to rule them all — head of every other in Japan, and extremely powerful as a result.
Nowadays, the temple is situated within the grounds of Nara Park, and is its most popular sightseeing spot. The main building is the Big Buddha Hall, which is the biggest wooden building in the entire world. Amazingly, it was once even bigger, with the original incarnation being around 1.5 times the size of the current one. Inside, you’ll find a 15 meter Buddha, flanked by some heavenly retainers.
Towards the back of the hall, you’ll find a pillar with an opening in the bottom. It’s said that if you can fit through it, you’ll achieve enlightenment in the next life (but don’t get stuck in front of everyone for the sake of future you). On the grounds you’ll also find a museum which details the history of the temple and showcases some of its extensive collection of artifacts.
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