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Thursday, 3rd March 2011
In General Japan News,

1,300 year-old Japanese pagoda now open to public

A pagoda that was built around 1,300 years ago has finally been opened to the public.

It is the first time ever that people have been able to view the inside of the three-story east pagoda of Yakushiji, a Buddhist temple in Nara.

The building has been listed as a World Heritage Site for a number of years but people have only been able to look at its exterior. However, authorities are now opening the temple to general visitors at the end of March before it is closed for an eight-year renovation project.

A special walkway has been constructed inside the pagoda which allows people to view the impressive hosage paintings as well as touch the main pillar.

"I was amazed that such an old thing still exists today when I saw hosoge on the ceiling, which were drawn in painstaking detail," Kazunari Totsukawa, a 48-year-old office worker from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture told Kyodo News.

Yakushiji is one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara and was completed in 698.

Written by Mark Smith.