The main entrance to Toshodai Temple, which was built in 751, is called the Path of History, since in Nara's imperial days dignitaries and priests trod this route; today it is lined with clay-walled houses, tranquil gardens, and the occasional shop selling crafts.
At the temple's entrance entasis pillars support the Nandai-mon (Great South Gate). Beyond the Nandai-mon is the Kon-do (Main Hall), a superb example of classical Nara architecture. It was restored in 2009. Inside the hall is a lacquer statue of Vairocana Buddha, the same incarnation of Buddha that is enshrined at Todai-ji. The halo surrounding him was originally covered with 1,000 Buddhas; now there are 864. In back of the Kon-do sits the Daiko-do (Lecture Hall), formerly an assembly hall of the Nara Imperial Court, the only remaining example of Nara palace architecture.
Toshodai-ji is a 10-minute walk from the rear gate of Yakushi-ji along the Path of History. From central Nara or Horyu-ji, take Bus 52 or 97 to the stop in front of Toshodai-ji.
13–46 Gojo-cho, Nara, Nara-ken, 630-8327, Japan