Nara’s Kofukuji Pagoda to Undergo 1st Major Repairs in 120 Years; Unable to See Japan’s World Heritage Site Until 2031

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Damage is noticeable on a balustrade of the five-story pagoda of Kofukuji temple in Nara in November last year.

NARA — Preparations are underway for the first major repairs in about 120 years of the five-story pagoda of Kofukuji temple, a World Heritage Site in Nara.

The pagoda, which is also a national treasure, will be covered by a temporary roof by the end of January next year, and the landmark of the ancient capital will not be visible until around 2031, when the repair work is expected to be completed.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Preparations for major repairs are underway on the pagoda of Kofukuji temple on Wednesday.

The press was recently allowed to enter the pagoda, before full-fledged construction begins. The porch on the upper level offers a panoramic view of the city, but wind and rain exposure has severely damaged the building’s balustrades. The plaster on the walls is peeling, and parts of the walls themselves have cracked under the weight of the building. On the other hand, some red paint remains on a few of the pillars, a reminder of the structure’s past gorgeous appearance.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The pagoda, foreground, is seen in May 2023 before preparations for repair work began.