5-Story Pagoda at Nara’s Kokufuji Temple Prepped for 1st Major Repairs in 120 Years

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The five-story pagoda of Kofukuji temple in Nara, where work is underway to prepare for large-scale repairs, is seen in this aerial view taken on Thursday.

NARA — The five-story pagoda of Kofukuji temple, a World Heritage site in Nara, is being prepped for its first large-scale repair project in over a century.

The press was given an inside glimpse on Thursday as the scaffolding is put into place that, along with a temporary roof, will entirely encase the pagoda.

The pagoda was originally built in 730, but was repeatedly destroyed by fire and lightning. The current structure was built in 1426 and is the sixth in the line.

The erection of the scaffolding and temporary roof is expected to be completed by the end of the fiscal year. With the roof about 60 meters above ground, the 50-meter-high pagoda will become “invisible” for awhile.

Using a large crane, the scaffolding is currently at the height of the second of the pagoda’s five stories.

It marks the first large-scale repair in 120 years dating back to the Meiji era (1868-1912). The renovation calls for all roof tiles to be removed and checked, to be replaced if necessary, and the plaster walls repainted.

The project has a target of 2031 for completion, with total costs estimated at ¥5.7 billion.