John Harvey Photo

NaraGo to Slide Show

The Birthplace of Japanese Civilization


The Road in Nara

Before Kyoto became the capital of Japan, the capital was based in Nara.  Now Nara seems like a smaller town that still has a few surprises.  My good friend Mark lived and worked in Tenri (half an hour south), but he always mentioned Nara.  So we went to Nara.  We weren't alone.

Deer and Students

Nara is probably most famous for it's deer.  A close second would be the unending streams of school students being chased by the deer.

Deer Crackers








Deer

Once we got used to the deer (and the swarms of students), we started to explore the town.  First up was cash - the hotel in Kyoto took either cash, or cash.  No credit cards, no travelers checks, no foreign cash.  Yeah.  Anyways, we went to this pretty anonymous bank in Nara and in a few minuets I had 70,000 yen burning a hole in my bank account.  Or not - surprisingly, I didn't get billed until 2 months after we came home.  Thanks for the loan Nara Bank!

Bank in Nara

Green Tea Ice Cream

Mmmm, Ice cream.  We can get green tea ice cream in Vancouver, but it somehow tastes better in Japan.

Sea of StudentsMonk

Huge Wooden Temple
Mark told us we had to see Todai-ji.  The never ending stream of students were all going in the same direction and for good reason - even after a week of temples and shrines, Todai-ji is impressive.  Guide book says:  "Todai-ji was founded in 745 by Emperor Shomu.    It took 15 years to build, and is currently the worlds largest wooden building.  The current temple was built in 1709 and is two-third's the size of the original".

Burning IncenseLantern out Front

The temple itself is amazing.  You start by walking though the huge wooden gate (Nandai-mon - Great Southern Gate) and into view of the huge court yard.  The courtyard has a large lantern in the center and smells of the incense burned at each end.  Walking up, the temple completely dominates your field of view.  The inside of the temple is relatively dark (The materials at the time didn't allow for sky lights), so you don't see what's inside until you are almost on top them.

Golden StatueGolden Statue From the SideLarge Statue

Impressive doesn't being to describe the statues inside.  The central statue (first two images) is made of bronze - depicts Rushana, the Cosmic Buddha who presides over all levels of the Buddhist universe (or so says the guide book).  Apparently the head fell off in an earthquake and and his right hand has melted twice - in two separate fires.  The guard statue (third image) is my favorite.

Street Scene

Being a week and half into the trip, having seen Nikko and Kyoto, we were templed out.  The guide book suggested a local photography museum so we walked over and took a look.

Photo Museum

The exhibit (which was very good) was about temple statues.

We caught the local train back to Kyoto and then boarded the Shinkansen on to Toyohashi to see Deca!




Green Tea Ice Cream
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Deer and Students
Tags: Japan
Monk
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Street Scene
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Deer
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Burning Incense
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The Road in Nara
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Lantern out Front
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Golden Statue
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Tags: Japan, statue, temple
Bank in Nara
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Huge Wooden Temple
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Deer Crackers
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Golden Statue From the Side
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Large Statue
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Photo Museum
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Sea of Students
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Tags: Japan(14), temple(6), crowd(2), deer(2), statue(2), bank(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Trip to Japan > Nara

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