Asuka-dera

Buddhist Temple in Nara Region

Considered the first true Buddhist temple in Japan (founded 596), Asuka-dera houses the Asuka Daibutsu, Japan's oldest remaining Buddha image (609). Weighing 15 tonnes and originally covered in gold, it's said that the statue has never been moved from this spot, meaning that many of the greats of Japanese history have likely stood before it. It's flanked by the Amida Buddha and Prince Shōtoku, the saint credited with bringing Buddhism to Japan.

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