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Kofukuji was founded in the early 8th century as an element of the original plan of Nara. Its big draw is the two pagodas: The five-story one is the second-tallest in Japan, at 50 meters (or 164 feet). The three-story one is on Japan’s list of national treasures. The temple also has two octagonal halls (quite unusual for Japan). Kofukuji’s museum has one of the best Japanese Buddhist art collections outside Tokyo. Its statue of an Asura, one of the guardians of the Buddha, has six delicate arms and three faces you can read your own mood into. Nearly a million people came to see the Asura when it was loaned out to the National Museum in Tokyo.

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