Kohfukuji - Nara

Located in 48 Noboriojicho, Nara City in Nara Prefecture, Kohfukuji (興福寺) is a Buddhist temple that serves as the national headquarters of the Hosso school of Buddhism. 

Kohfukuji (興福寺)

Kohfukuji History

Kohfukuji or simply Kofukuji was established in 669 by Kagami no Okimi in the hopes that it would please Buddha, which in turn, would help her husband Fujiwara no Kamatari recover from his illness.  The first temple was built in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province which is in present-day Kyoto. Then in 672, the temple was dismantled and moved to  Fujiwara-kyo as it was the first planned Japanese Capital. However, the temple was dismantled again and moved to its present location in 710. It was built on the east side of the then newly established capital Heijo-kyo which is present-day Nara. 

Follow the signages going to Kohfukuji

Go up the stairs to reach Kofukuji

Kofukuji was always associated with the highly influential Fujiwara Clan. Hence, it enjoyed influence over the people and also over the imperial government. Because of this, Kofukuji remained significant and influential even if most of its counterparts declined in status after the capital was moved to Heian-kyo (present-day Kyoto). During the height of the Fujiwara Clan's power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings.

Wash your hands at Kohfukuji's chozuya

The Nan'endo with the usual crowd

Kohfukuji Nara
Kohfukuji - Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Like most of the century-old temples in Japan, Kohfukuji was not spared from the ravages of men and Mother Nature. It was damaged and destroyed by wars and calamities many times in the past but the temple was always rebuilt after. However, some structures like the Nandaimon and Chumon were never reconstructed (yet). The Chu-kondo (Central Golden Hall) was rebuilt and was completed only in 2018. 

At present, these are the structures that can be found in the Kohfukuji temple grounds:

Chu-kondo  (Central Golden Hall)

To-Kondo (East Golden Hall)

Nan'endo (South Octagonal Hall) is the No. 9 of the Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage temples. It is also an Important Cultural property.

Goju-no-to (five-storied Pagoda) listed as a National Treasure. Standing at 50-meters high, it is the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan.

National Treasure Hall

Other structures that I haven't visited:

Sanju-no-to (three-storied Pagoda) listed as a National Treasure

Hoku'endo (North Octagonal Hall) listed as a National Treasure

Bath House (Oyuyo) listed as an Important Cultural Property

It's good to note that the Kohfukuji temple ground is free to explore 24/7. However, you need to pay an entrance fee to go inside the Central Golden Hall, Eastern Golden Hall, and Kohfukuji National Treasure Museum. The pagodas, on the other hand, can't be entered by the public.

Kohfukuji goshuin

There are also deer inside the temple grounds

Kohfukuji was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara in December 1998.

We got to visit Kohfukuji during the 3rd day of our 2019 Japan trip.

Photos of Team Nicerio in Kohfukuji grounds:

Team Nicerio visits Kohfukuji

Kohfukuji Admission Fee:

It's FREE to explore Kohfukuji grounds. However, visitors will have to pay 600 yen to enter the National Treasure Museum and a separate 300 yen to enter the Great Golden Hall.  For visitors who plan to enter both, they can save some money if they avail of the combined ticket which only costs 800 yen.

Kohfukuji Opening Hours:

Kohfukuji is open from 9AM to 5PM every day.

Why visit Kohfukuji?

Overall, it's hard to miss Kohfukuji as its five-story pagoda serves as a landmark and symbol of Nara. Aside from that, if you are planning to go on a sea voyage then you can offer a prayer in this temple. Well, that is if you believe in it.

Getting to Kohfukuji:


From JR Nara Station, Kohfukuji is about 20 minutes away on foot. However, if you are in a rush, you can ride the loop buses bound for Kasuga Taisha. The trip from JR Nara Station to Kencho-mae bus stop costs around 220 yen.

On the other hand, from Kintetsu Nara Station, Kohfukuji is just 5 minutes away on foot. 



Overall rating


  1. These pictures are great. Made me feel like I was there and now I want to go

    1. I'm happy to hear that. :) Please do come visit Kohfukuji. :)

  2. You pictures made me feel like I was there and now I want to go

    1. Please do visit Kohfukuji when you have a chance. It's an awesome place.

  3. I've always wanted to visit Japan, hopefully I'll get the chance someday, looking at these pictures makes me want to go even more. Beautiful pictures!

  4. Interesting read. Lots of fascinating places with rich histories. So cool!

    1. You should come visit Kohfukuji when you're in Nara. :)

  5. Nara is our target destination if only our (supposed) July trip was pushed through. May I ask, how many temples (of Japan) had you visited so far?

    1. I have visited about 50 major temples so far. :) I love historic architecture. :)

  6. I love vising temples in Japan and just learn more about another country's culture. Will definitely add this in our itinerary if we visit Nara. Thank you!

  7. I always love to watch the locals pray at this temples, it's really beautiful and interesting!

  8. I love reading about your family's adventures. You capture them so well.

  9. This is such a beautiful site--pagodas are so interesting. I'd love to visit this temple one day., along with many of the other UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are treasures that can't be replaced.

    1. I agree with you. I also have the same goal - to visit all the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan.

    2. This is jist one of the numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan. I wish to visit them all. :)

  10. This is amazing! I like the picture with the big tree. I would love to visit this as it has an interesting history.

  11. Do you guys always travel around? So envy you..been reading your blogs

    1. Hi Kenneth we do but it's mostly Philippines and Japan. :)

  12. I like the temples in Japan. I really wish to visit Japan sometime really soon.

    1. Japan is waiting for you. I wish you could come visit soon. :)

  13. I have never been to Kohfukujii before and I been to Kyoto so many times. I have to check out this place the next time I go south!

  14. I love all temples in Japan, they are not just full of historical value, also they are all beautifully built. Love all the captures shared here & enjoyed my read. Gonna add this to my to travel list. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Cool! I'm happy to hear that. I do hope you could visit Kohfukuji someday

  15. Such an amazing and fascinating article.. I got so much knowledge about Japan through this.

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Shrish. Please do included Kohfukuji in your visit someday.

  16. Wow! This makes me more eager to travel to Japan.. I love how the place seem to be so traditional. :)

    1. Please do include Kohfukuji in your itinerary once you do so. =)

  17. I had a good time in Nara and I'm sooooooo glad that I've visited Kohfukuji. At least hindi nako envious diba compared sa Kyoto trip mo (which is bitter pa rin ako... hahaha!). I didn't pay much attention to the attendant at the Tourist Center as I was excited to see the deer park. I'm glad you've included facts/history. I'm drawn to the Goju-no-to as I've been to several temples but there were only a handful that has a pagoda. Awesome article and beautiful pictures as always, Neil-san! 😁

    1. Thanks Polly - san! I would love to read about your Nara experience someday. :)

      Well envious naman ako sa Europe trip mo hahaha.


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