The five-storied pagoda at Ninna-ji was completed at the end of the Ka’nei era (1624 – 1644). It was built about the same time that the taller five-storied pagoda at Tōji Temple was constructed. Pagodas constructed during the Edo period (1603 – 1868) tend to have roofs that are all approximately the same width, the pagoda at Ninna-ji demonstrates this characteristic. Pagodas that have roofs which become smaller with height are built in an earlier style dating back from the Heian and Kamakura periods.
The pagoda at Ninna-ji is a total of 36.18m (118.7ft) tall. Inside the first story, five Buddha images are enshrined amongst colorfully painted walls and posts. Although it is not possible to see from the outside, on the inside there is one main pillar in the center of the building that reaches up through all five floors surrounded by one pillat at each of the four corners. This type of engineering combined with the flexibility of wood makes pagodas flexible and resistant to earthquakes. Historically pagodas are very strong and durable structures, with the notable exception of a severe weakness to fire.