Japan Nara Nara Park

Nandaimon Gate

Entrance to Todai-ji, Home to Japan’s Renowned Nio Guardian Kings

Photo of Nandaimon Gate, Japan (Todai-ji, Nandai-mon (Graet South Gate) -1 (May 2019) by Tetsuhiro Terada)

Nandaimon Gate, known as the Great South Gate, stands as an architectural marvel and a significant entrance to the sacred Todai-ji Temple complex in Nara. This structure from the 8th century is a National Treasure of Japan and reflects the craftsmanship of ancient Japanese builders. Housing the impressive Nio Guardian Kings, the gate invites visitors to explore the spiritual and historical depths of Todai-ji.

About Nandaimon Gate

Constructed in the Nara period, the Nandaimon Gate has been a key structure throughout Japan’s history. Originally built in the 8th century and having undergone reconstructions, it retains its historical essence. As one of Japan’s large wooden gates, it rises approximately 25 meters, showcasing architectural details that have intrigued visitors for generations.

The gate’s most distinguished features are the two Nio Guardian Kings, colossal statues each over 8 meters tall. These guardians, known as Kongorikishi, represent Vajrapani and symbolize the defense of the temple. Sculpted in the 13th century by the eminent artists Unkei and Kaikei, their expressions and forms are considered masterpieces of Buddhist art and are each recognized as National Treasures.

Visitors should also appreciate the Daibutsuyō architectural style, due to a reconstruction following a typhoon that struck the original gate.

Passing through the Nandaimon Gate, visitors are welcomed by the grandeur of the Todai-ji Temple, significant in Japan’s cultural and religious history. The temple complex, part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes the Great Buddha Hall, which holds the world’s largest bronze Vairocana Buddha statue. Additionally, the temple precincts and gardens offer a peaceful retreat with halls like Nigatsudo Hall providing panoramic views of Nara.

Nandaimon Gate is an iconic cultural landmark in Nara, continually inspiring awe as it welcomes visitors to delve into the spiritual and historical essence of the site.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Nandaimon Gate

Around Nandaimon Gate

Nandaimon Gate

Gate in Nara

open 24 hours
closed Irregularly


南大門, 奈良

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Updated 14 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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