Kōfuku-ji National Treasure Museum


Reopened in 2018, this compact museum houses Kōfuku-ji's most important works of art, many of which date to the 8th century (and have managed to survive destruction over the ages). If you're interested in Buddhist sculpture, this is well worth a visit. The biggest draw is the sculpture of Ashura, a deity taken from Indian mythology; he's usually a fierce figure, but here he's presented with grace and composure despite his youthful appearance.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nara attractions

1. Kōfuku-ji Tōkondō

0.05 MILES

Kōfuku-ji's Tōkondō is a National Treasure dating from 726 and rebuilt in 1415 (but paying homage to older structures). It houses several important…

3. Kōfuku-ji

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Kōfuku-ji was founded in Kyoto in 669 and relocated here in 710. The original Nara temple complex had 175 buildings, though much has been lost over the…

4. Kōfuku-ji Nanen-dō

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Kōfuku-ji's southern octagonal hall, first built in 813 (and most recently reconstructed in 1789), enshrines an image of the bodhisattva Kannon.

5. Kōfuku-ji Hokuen-dō

0.15 MILES

Kōfuku-ji's northern octagonal hall was first built in 721. The current reconstruction is c 1210, making it the second-oldest structure at Kōfuku-ji.

6. Kōfuku-ji Three-Storey Pagoda

0.19 MILES

Kōfuku-ji's oldest structure is this often-overlooked, elegant three-storey pagoda built in 1181, a rare example of Heian-era architecture.

7. Nara National Museum

0.23 MILES

This world-class museum of Buddhist art is divided into two sections. Built in 1894 and strikingly renovated in 2016, the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall &…

8. Yoshiki-en

0.29 MILES

This garden was once part of Kofuku-ji and since 1919 has been a public garden, laid out in traditional fashion along paths around a pond. Most attractive…