Yakushiji, Temple of Medicine

The Buddha of Healing’s dwelling place in Nara

 By Celine Villeneuve   May 12, 2015

Known as the Temple of Medicine, Yakushiji was built around 680 by order of Emperor Tenmu for the recovery of the Empress from a serious illness.

The main building, Kondo, characterized by the two illustrious pagodas that frame it, houses the Buddha of Healing, Yakushi Nyorai. Surrounded by two attendant Bodhisattvas, the bronze Buddha is based on a singular pedestal that bears many references to countries crossed by the Silk Road. He thus reminds all of the internationality of the Nara period.

During our visit, the many plum trees that the temple shelters, were only just beginning to flower. Not until March, can you see the beauty of Yakushiji enhanced by this rich profusion of flowers.

As well as the famous Todai-ji or Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Yakushiji is among the list of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The Yakushi-ji Temple is located a few train stops away from Nara. To go there, take the Kintetsu Nara Line at Kintetsunara station (to Osakananba) and change at Yamatosaidaishi Station (Kintetsu Kashihara Line). Then, get off at Nishinokyo Station (around 20 minutes).

Photography by Celine Villeneuve
JapanTravel Manager

Join the discussion

Justin Velgus a year ago
Some great shots of the temple. I like the plum tree in front of the temple.
Celine Villeneuve Photographer a year ago
Thank you Justin ! I was impressed by their collection of plum trees (even if it was a little bit too early to admire them)