Toshodai-ji is a large temple south-west of Nara, just north of the more famous Yakushi-ji temple. Toshodai-ji was established in 759 by Ganjin Wajo. Ganjin was a high priest of the Tang Dinasty in China, and was invited by the Japanese Imperial court to teach Buddhism in Japan. Ganjin had quite a hard time to reach Japan: he only succeeded after the sixth attempt in 753, and lost his eyesight in the process.
Toshodai-ji has many National Treasures and old buildings, but may feel a bit "dry" for someone not interested in statues and scrolls. Luckily, however, the temple has interesting flower gardens of various sizes and design. Also, the main hall was recently renovated, which in Japan means almost entirely taken apart and rebuilt. The renovation took 10 years! A nice exhibit about this renovation reveals some secrets about Japanese architecture.
Nearby: Yakushi-ji 薬師寺 (720m)
External links: Website, Wikipedia, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Nara, 奈良, 唐招提寺, Toshodai-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣