Tsubosaka-dera is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Nara, Japan. Built on top of Mount Tsubosaka, the temple dates back to the 8th century and is famous for its stunning views, along with its many giant Buddha statues. The best time to visit the temple is from late March to mid-April, when the entire temple is bathed in beautiful cherry blossoms.

You can go by car, train or bus to get here. However, during cherry blossom season, I recommend taking the train or bus, because there are too many cars coming here, long congestion, and the average time it takes to get from the foot of the mountain by car. It takes about 2 hours to get to the temple, while it only took us 30 minutes to walk 😀

The scene of cars lining up waiting to go up the mountain. Walking will be much faster 😀

The bus stop closest to the temple is Tsubosakaderakuchi Bus Stop, I will leave the Google map link here: https://maps.app.goo.gl/URsiDdk292FHczbr5

The nearest train station to the temple is Tsubosakayama station, Address: https://maps.app.goo.gl/RdHjhgoi2aR7nd1p7

After arriving at the bus station, we walk about 30 minutes to reach the temple. Temple address here: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ww7irwu9aFK7SAGZ6

After about 30 minutes of walking, this was the first sight I saw. A giant pink magnolia (Mokuren) tree right in front of the entrance.

Magnolia tree in front of the temple entrance.
The pink color is quite eye-catching.
The parking lot is also often full, so if traveling by car, come early.

Admission is 800 JPY for adults and 200 JPY for children. Opening hours are from 8am to 5pm. However, during cherry blossom season there will be lighting activities, so opening hours will be extended from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The illumination event takes place today, which is also the reason why so many people come here.

Right from the entrance to the temple, there are many Buddha statues from small to large placed here.

Entrance to the temple.

Right from the first steps, I saw a long row of pink cherry trees, stretching to the end of the road. At the end is also a temple with a small Torii gate.

I like these light pink cherry blossoms more than the traditional white ones.

Entrance gate viewed from two sides. Look in and look out.

As soon as we walked up the stairs, we could see a giant Buddha statue in the middle of the cherry blossom forest. This is also one of the symbols of the temple.

Giant Buddha statue from my perspective.

Surrounding the statue are pink peach blossoms.

And this is a pretty special photo that I took. A bunch of cherry blossoms looks like they're falling, but it's actually created by the background blur effect, you have to look quite closely to see it 😀

The work "flowers falling at Buddha's door" 😀

And here is a panoramic view of the large Buddha statues at the temple.

On the opposite side, there is a thousand-armed Buddha statue placed separately beneath a cherry blossom garden.

Thousand-armed Buddha statue.

After visiting this area, we walk up the front stairs to the next areas.

This step also has a wheelchair lift for disabled people. Something quite special.

On the second floor of the temple, I will go to the area reserved for those who want to take photos of the Great Buddha from above. Because this shooting angle is quite famous, many people lined up in front of the check point to wait for their turn to take photos.

You have to wait in line to get in to take pictures of the Great Buddha statue with cherry blossoms.

The queuing time was about 30 minutes, quite long, so I also took the opportunity to take photos of the views around the area where I stood. And here is the result:

Many stone lanterns are placed here.

The place to take pictures of the Great Buddha only allows about 4-5 people to take pictures at a time, leading to a long wait. But believe me, it's worth every minute of waiting 😀 Let's see my results after 30 minutes of queuing:

The most famous photo corner of the temple: the Great Buddha next to the cherry blossoms.

Because I had very little time to take pictures (because there were still people lining up behind), I tried to take as many angles of the statue as quickly as possible.

The result after 30 minutes of waiting. Totally worth it.

After taking photos at this check point, you can also go down the stairs below to take a lower angle, as well as closer to the statue.

Panorama of the statue. Extremely impressive.

The time I took these photos took place during the golden hour, so the light was very harmonious and gentle.

There are many shooting angles, but I don't want to miss any photos, so I'll upload them all here 😀

On this lower floor there is also a very large bell tower, inside are hundreds of small Buddha statues, along with a large thousand-armed Buddha statue on the left side.

Bell tower.
Thousand-armed Buddha statue.

After exploring the 2nd floor, I climbed the temple steps to the 3rd floor, the highest floor, so I could take photos of the Great Buddha statue.

Everything is arranged extremely neatly and meticulously.

And this is what I took on the 3rd floor, the entire statue and the temples next to it were covered in cherry blossoms.

Images that seem to only exist in movies.

And the last place I visited was the main hall of the temple.

The main hall of the temple is very large.

The Buddha statues here are a combination of Indian Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism.

Inside the main hall, hundreds of Hina dolls (traditional Japanese dolls) appear.

Hina doll.
Hina doll and thousand-armed Buddha statue in the background.
Dolls come in many different shapes and decorations.

And in the center of the main hall, is a thousand-armed Buddha statue sitting in an octagon. This temple is also quite famous for praying for health, don't miss it when coming here.

Another thousand-armed Buddha statue.

At the exit of the main hall, there is a large mirror placed in front of the door, so people can capture the reflection of the cherry blossoms.

We can capture this kind of angle with a mirror.

A monk is performing a vow in the main hall.

When I went out to the main hall, it was starting to get dark, and it was also the time to start the lighting event.

LED lights are placed around the temple, to illuminate the Buddha statues and cherry blossom trees.

And I also returned to the Buddha statues area to take photos at lighting time.

At this point, I finished a tour around the temple, with many different angles for taking photos. Hopefully this article will be useful to you in exploring the temple as well as knowing an extremely beautiful cherry blossom viewing spot in the Kansai area.

The last bus here is at about 7 o'clock, the travel time from the temple to the bus station is about 30 minutes, so please pay attention to the time when returning. If you miss the last bus, don't worry too much, we can also walk a little further to the train station, but the walking time is quite long (about 50 minutes). So choosing the bus will be the most optimal.

And finally, today's author photo. Thank you for reading to the end of the article.

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