An ancient temple, brighten by the beauty of seasonal blooms of autumn cosmos
Hannya-ji（般若寺）, the Shingo Risshu sect’s temple is located to the north of Todai-ji Temple at the very top of an upward slope called Nara-zaka.
Hannya-ji is also called as “Cosmos Temple”. This small temple is quite famous for its beautiful cosmos flowers. Every year from the first week of October to the early November, 150,000 cosmos plants with over 30 varieties are in full bloom. Countless beautiful flowers cover its entire grounds.
According to a legend, Hannya-ji Temple was founded in the Asuka period (710-794) by the Buddhist priest Ekan. The name of the temple originates from the fact that in 735, after the capital was moved to Nara, the Emperor Shomu built a stupa on the base of the pagoda containing the “Great Hannya Sutra” to protect the capital.
The original main hall was built in 1667 but burned down during the Sengoku Period, but has since been rebuilt. The principle Buddha image here is Manjushri Bodhisattva riding on a lion. This statue is designated as a important cultural asset, and other some images. In the front of the main hall is a large stone pagoda which has some 13 stones layered on one another, and is considered to be the largest stone pagoda in Japan. The Romon, two-story gate with Irimoya-styled roof (building with hip-and-gable roof) was built during the Kamakura period (late 13th century) is designated as a national treasure.
Access : Take a Nara Kotsu Bus from JR Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station toward “Aoyama Jutaku-mae” and get off at Hannyaji. You can also reach the temple on foot in 15-minute from Todai-ji, or 30-minute from Kintetsu Nara Station.