With the help of a crane, workers reinstall the repaired central pillar of Toto (east pagoda) at Yakushiji temple in Nara on Jan. 9. One of the workers hits the pillar with a wooden hammer as part of the ceremony for the work. (Video taken by Sayuri Ide)

NARA--A 4.3-ton central pillar was reinstalled on the stone base of an ancient pagoda at Yakushiji temple here on Jan. 9 with Buddhist chants in the background praying for a safe operation.

The 34-meter-tall, three-story Toto (east pagoda), built around 730, was dismantled starting in 2011 for its first overhaul in about a century.

The first part of the reassembling process was getting the repaired central pillar back in place.

Head priest Taiin Murakami and an estimated 900 people who attended a ceremony for the rebuilding process recited “Hannyashingyo” (The Heart Sutra), as a crane hoisted the pillar and placed it at the center of the podium.

Workers then hit the pillar with a wooden hammer as part of the safety ritual.

The disassembled parts of the Nara Period (710-784) pagoda are not only repaired but also studied.

Toto, a government-designated national treasure, is expected to be completely rebuilt in June 2020.

Each tier of Toto has a smaller, second roof. The rhythmic, stylistic beauty of the double-roof structures has earned the pagoda the nickname “frozen music.”