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Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Considered by many to be the birthplace of Japanese civilization, it was the country's capital before Kyoto in the 8th century. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples, "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Todaiji, a temple complex in the city of Nara in Nara Prefecture, was built in the year 743. At that time Buddhism was at its height, and served as a state religion. The best-known relic at Todaiji Temple is its Daibutsu, a colossal statue that, with 15 meters in height, is the world's largest gilded bronze Buddha. It is housed in an all-wood building, the Daibutsu-den, 48 meters in height, the largest wooden building in the world.