Nigatsu-dō (二月堂, "The Hall of the Second Month") is one of the important structures of Tōdai-ji, a temple in Nara, Japan. Nigatsu-dō is located to the east of the Great Buddha Hall, on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa. It includes several other buildings in addition to the specific hall named Nigatsu-dō, thus comprising its own sub-complex within Tōdai-ji.[1]

Nigatsu-dō (二月堂)
The stairs leading to Nigatsu-dō Hall


Nigatsu-dō was founded by a monk by the name of Sanetada in 752, but the Buddhist monk Jitchu, a pupil of Rōben, later introduced a repentance service dedicated to the image of the eleven-faced Bodhisattva, Kannon in 760. It has taken place as an annual rite since 760 without any break. The service has come to be known as Shuni-e (修二会, lit. Second-Month Service), as it was held in the second month of the traditional lunisolar calendar. At present, it starts on 1 March and ends on the 15th of the month.[2] Omizutori, which means taking sacred water, has become the popular name of the ceremony.

While the first Shuni-e service is said to have been held by Jichu in another temple in 752, the original construction of Nigatsu-dō hall is estimated to have completed only somewhere between 756 and 772. Nigatsu-dō was destroyed in 1667 due to a fire.[3]

  • 1667 (Kanbun 7): After fire destroyed the main temple structure, work on rebuilding Nigatsu-dō (二月堂) at Nara commenced.[4]

Re-construction of Nigatsu-do is completed in 1669. In 1944, it was chosen by Japan as one of the most important cultural aspects of the country.[3]


Although the hall was saved from civil wars in 1180 and 1567 in which the Great Buddha Hall was lost, it was burnt down during the Shuni-e service of 1667. The hall was rebuilt two years later.

The current main hall of Nigatsu-dō is a designated National Treasure. The hall holds two Kannons, a large one and a small one, although both of them are classified as Hibutsu (秘仏) – "secret Buddhas" – and therefore are not publicly shown.

Additional ImagesEdit

See alsoEdit

  • Omizutori, the climax of Shuni-e service which takes place on 12 March every year.
  • For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, and Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism.


  1. ^ "Origin of Omizutori". Gyohomiso. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  2. ^ Vrik Narayama. "Shuni-e (Ceremony of the Second Month)". Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  3. ^ a b Nigatsu-do Hall.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 414.


Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 251800045; see also Imprimerie Royale de France, OCLC 311322353

Coordinates: 34°41′21″N 135°50′39″E / 34.689278°N 135.844278°E / 34.689278; 135.844278