In my presentation, I will build on recent work of the material turn in historiography and the study of religion, as well as on Maurice Halbwachs’ theories on memory, to investigate how materialization of narratives and practices of memory at a Japanese Buddhist temple facilitate the construction of a loyal lay community that is also instrumental in assuring the thriving of the temple itself. At Yakushiji temple in Nara, material objects give form to collective and individual memories constructed through religious narrative and ritual practice. On one side, the materiality of the temple buildings, relics and ancient artistic treasures, are imbued with sacredness associated with their standing through time and recalling the history of the cultural connection of Yakushiji with the Eurasian continent through the transmission of Buddhism. On the other, the same narrative of spiritual connection with the past is materialized in the aesthetics of gifts to the lay community that reward their monetary donations to Yakushiji, associated with ritual memorialization of the dead. These gifts and rituals are aimed at making the lay community participate in the spiritual sense of eternity suggested by the continuity of Yakushiji. While arguing for the centrality of the objects in anchoring and reproducing the spiritual narrative of the temple, I will also use a historical analysis of how such practices of memorialization are the product of re-invention of Buddhist traditions in post-WWII Japan in order to raise questions about religion, marketization, and the construction of community.