To the east of Todaiji Temple, Nigatsudo is a smaller temple also part of Todaiji, but an important complex in its own right. At sunset, it offers one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Nara. You can approach from a path in front of Todaiji, which leads up cobbled steps flanked by ancient stone walls, or from the back of Todaiji, where the path leads to a covered wooden staircase. Either way, as you reach the top, the magnificent wooden structure of the main hall looms above you. As the sun sets and the lanterns are lit, the views over Nara are unbeatable.
The Nigatsudo is best known for Omizutori, a fire and water ceremony on March 12 every year, where huge flaming torches are held out from the temple balcony. The next day, sacred water is drawn from a well under the temple, which is said to have healing properties. The ceremony has been held here without a break since 752.