Tōdai-ji is one of the most iconic buildings of ancient Japan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the city of Nara, Tōdai-ji is a temple complex — with ji meaning temple in Japanese — which serves as the centre of the Kegon Buddhist practice. As a designated and protected historical site of Japan, this makes for one of the more stunning 3D building models, complete with gate (Karamon), courtyard and the famous great hall (Daibutsuden) housing a giant bronze Buddha statue. The building and surrounding complex are known for housing or featuring many national treasures and architectural wonders of Japan, including the Kon-dō (Daibutsuden), Nandaimon, Kaizan-dō, Shōrō, Hokke-dō (Sangatsu-dō), Nigatsu-dō and Tegaimo. The site owes its treasure status to the age of its structures, with some built as early as the 8th century. The temple’s historical age, cultural and religious significance to both Shinto and Buddhist practices, makes Tōdai-ji one of the most important Japanese landmarks.

As soon as you purchase your 3D building models, you will receive them in a range of useful formats: DAE, 3DS, C4D and SKP. You will be able to download all of these straight away. (see details)

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A temple existed in the location of the current complex as early as 728AD. The then emperor of Japan wanted to construct a large number of temples in response to the series of epidemics and disasters that had struck the country in recent years.

In the late 700s, the Buddhist religion was heavily managed by the government. Todai-ji became the main administrative building for the other temples of the all the various schools of Buddhism that existed in Japan at the time.

All munks were officially ordained at the complex. Additional parts of the building were added up until the mid 800s so that it could be used for a number of other kinds of official ceremony.

Shortly afterwards however, the centre of Buddhism in Japan shifted away from Nara to Mount Hiei, and the temple complex at Nara fell into disuse. Repeated attempts to revive the Vinaya lineage in Japanese Buddhism failed, and so the temple was no longer used for ordination ceremonies.

Architecture of the Temple

The Emperor required by law that the people should be involved with the construction of new Buddhist temples, in the hope that this would increase piety and help protect Japan from further disasters and instability. As a result, over 2 and half million people were involved in the construction of the Nara temple complex.

The millions of people contributed building materials such as wood, metal and cloth, as well as rice and their labour. Over 300,000 people worked on making the giant Buddha statue alone. The statue took three years and eight castings, with the head and neck cast separately from the body.

10,000 monks and 4000 dancers were present at the opening ceremony in 752. So much bronze was required that the cost was severely damaging to the country’s econonomy.

Originally, there were two 100 metre tall pagodas on the site, which at the time were two of the tallest structures in Japan. These fell down during an earthquake.

The great hall containing the Daibutsu statue had to be rebuilt twice following fires. The current iteration of the hall is smaller than its predecessor, at just under 200 foot long and 160 foot wide, and was completed in 1709. It remained the largest wooden building in the world until 1998.

Extensive restoration occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Recently, x rays have been used to find relics of the emperor inside the knee of the Daibutsu.

3D buildings models are available in a multitude of downloadable formats, such as DAE, C4D and SKP, allowing you to reconstruct this Japanese treasure easily. As one of the more low-lying 3D building models, you can appreciate the precise ancient layout of the complex. Having some significant religious structures built in its place in 728AD, it was built on a mandate from the Japanese Emperor to counterbalance a series of natural and historical events and disasters, to consolidate a national consciousness. Some 10,000 religious figures and 4,000 dancers gathered at the opening ceremony to this complex in 752AD. As Buddhism came to be integrated into government policy and management, the earliest buildings on this complex began to emerge as schools for religious thought and to ordain monks. Although Buddhism has seen some waning and changes throughout Japanese history, this complex remained an important site for Japanese Buddhism.

As an important place of worship, many millions were involved in the construction of Nara’s religious buildings. The giant buddha housed in the great hall required over 300,000 labourers to complete; the amount of valuable bronze included in this statue crippled the Japanese economy at the time. This hall is rendered perfectly by this 3D model. This great hall has been rebuilt several times through history due to fire damage. The courtyard features today and in this 3D model are very much akin to the original features of the finished 752AD building. The current hall was built in 1709 and was the largest wooden building until 1998, when it was succeeded by numerous buildings, including Japan’s own Odate Jukai Dome (a baseball stadium). Not included in this 3D render are the original two pagodas which used to be included on this site. These were destroyed in an earthquake, as were many of the complexes original features. Extensive restoration to the area’s buildings was undertaken throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Because of the advantages of modern X-Ray technology, relics have been found hidden in the knees of the bronze Buddha.