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Shosoin functioned as a treasure storehouse in the old days and is located in the precincts of Todai-ji. It is considered to be built to store the large number of treasures that the Empress donated to the Great Buddha after the Emperor died in 756. The treasures contain not only Japanese items but also items that came all the way from India and China. It is why Shosoin is called “the end of the Silk Road.” The precious treasures are preserved in different treasure storehouse today. Shosoin can only be seen from the outside today.
- 129 Zoshicho, Nara-shi, Nara
- Contact No.
- 5 minutes by Nara Kotsu bus bound for Aoyama Jutaku from Exit 5 of Kintetsu Nara Station. Get off at Imakoji. Walk 5 minutes from the bus stop.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays and from December 28-Jan 4.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 30 minutes
- Admission fee
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Inside the treasure storehouse is divided into three rooms in which a lot of treasures were preserved. The treasures consist of the Emperor’s belongings, household goods of noble families, musical instruments and so on. There is also some craftwork of eastern Asia delivered to Japan via the Silk Road.
Shosoin was built using the azekura style of architecture to preserve precious treasures to avoid them from damage and deterioration. The characteristic of this style building is that logs are laid on top of each other, capable of keeping the humidity inside stable with minimum influence from the air outside. This is one of the secrets the treasures preserved in Shosoin were in pristine condition even after over 1,000 years.
Exhibition of Shosoin Treasures
Nara National Museum in Nara Park has an annual exhibition of Shosoin treasures for a limited period in autumn. Exhibiting some of the treasures stored in Shosoin, which has a total of about 9,000 items, it is a great chance to take a look at rare items. If you can visit Shosoin during this exhibition period, make sure to visit Nara National Museum too!