The Tōdai-ji Temple from Nara was established in 728 and, like many other Japanese temples, suffered a lot of changes during its history, with buildings destroyed and rebuilt several times. Its main gate, Nandaimon (meaning “Great South Gate"), was destroyed during the Heian period (794–1185), but after it was rebuilt at the end of the Kamakura period (1185–1333), it managed to survive until today.
Nandaimon is a sanmon type gate or sangedatsumon, which can be translated as the “gate of the three liberations". Built with 6 pillars, its 3 entrances are symbolizing the three gates to enlightenment. Its role is to separate the sacred area from the profane space (same role as the Shinto torii gates), so when the visitor passes through such a gate, it is considered that he will be cleansed of three evil passions: greed, hatred and foolishness.
I photographed Nandaimon on a summer evening, with its old wood almost shining in the warm light of the sunset…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: