Feature Exhibition

Feature Exhibition

Treasures of Tōdaiji’s Omizutori Ritual

The Shuni-e ritual at Tōdaiji is familiarly known as Omizutori, and it is welcomed each year as the mark of spring’s arrival. It is a repentance ritual (J. keka) performed before the Jūichimen Kannon (Skt. Ekādaśamukha) enshrined at Tōdaiji’s Nigatsudō. The two weeks of ritual combine rites seeking forgiveness for transgressions with prayers for good fortune and avoiding calamity.
It is thought that the Omizutori ritual was first performed by the priest Jitchū (b. 726) in the fourth year of the Tenpyō-Shōhō era (752). Thus its history spans over 1,271 years. The continuity of its performance is all the more remarkable when one considers the obstacles it has faced through the centuries, among them the twelfth-century burning of Nara by warriors of the Taira clan; the fire that destroyed the Nigatsudō during the Edo period (1603–1867); and the threat of air raids during the Second World War. Thought of as “the ceaseless ritual,” Omizutori is an important part of Japanese cultural, historical, and religious heritage.
This Feature Exhibition is held to coincide with the timing of the Omizutori ritual, from March 1st to March 14th. Sculpture, paintings, calligraphy, works of the applied arts, material culture, and archaeological artifacts associated with the ritual were first brought together for an exhibition in 1997. Having met with public acclaim ever since, the exhibition has itself become an annual tradition. With this exhibition, we hope to enrich your understanding of Omizutori, presenting its many significances and fascinations.

The Illustrated Legends of the Nigatsudō, Scroll Two
(Tōdaiji Temple, Nara)


February 4th, 2022 (Sat)–March 19th, 2022 (Sun)


The museum is closed on February 6th (Mon), 20th (Mon), 27th (Mon).


9:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

*On Saturdays, hours are extended to 8:00 p.m.
*During the period of the Omizutori ritual, held from March 1st to March 14th, the Museum is open every day until 6:00 P.M., with hours further extended to 7:00 p.m. on March 12th, and to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 4th.
*Last entry is 30 minutes before the museum closes.


The East Wing, Nara National Museum


General AdmissionHigh School/College Students


Nara National Museum, Todaiji, ,Bukkyo Bijutsu Kyōkai (Buddhist Art Foundation)

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