Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nara... Temples and Lanterns and Deer, OH MY!

Katie and I went down to Nara... a little side trip from Kyoto and Osaka.  We stayed the first night in a tiny guesthouse that served a delicious Western style breakfast in the morning.  Nara was Japan's first permanent capital before it eventually moved to Tokyo.  Today, Nara is full of historic treasures including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.  Kasuga Taisha was my favorite shrine with it's many hanging lanterns around the shrine.  The gold and bronze lanterns complemented the red temple perfectly.  I would love to go back during one of the two times each year all the lanterns are actually lit!
The 5-storied pagoda of the Horyuji Temple, one of Japan's oldest temples.  The main hall was under construction when we were there, but the rest of it was still pretty.
Another building of the Horyuji Temple.
Nara Park is known for the wild deer roaming around the green fields.  The leaves were just starting to change colors when we were there.  It turned out to be such a nice day walking around the park!
Some of the many lanterns leading the way along the path to the Kasuga Taisha shrine.  The deer were just wandering around the whole temple and park area of Nara.  They would come up to visitors hoping to get some food.
Kasuga Taisha

Wild deer going up to local street vendors in the park.  
A group of Japanese high school boys came up to Katie and I asking us questions for their school project (we actually saw their teacher, so we knew they weren't lying...).  Their last question was "Can we take picture with you?"  So I respond, "Only if we can take one with all of you too!" 
The deer were relaxing to watch... there were so many of them!

Todaiji Temple is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples.  It's the world's largest building and also houses Japan's largest bronze Buddha statue (Daibutsu).  The present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple's size from 752.  I could not get over all the details and the massive size of the wood pillars and construction inside the temple.  I loved the iron details on the doors.
There were two gold plated Buddha's on either side of Daibutsu.
Daibutsu, Japan's largest bronze Buddha.
Along a canal in Nara Park... beautiful leaves are starting to change! 
One of my favorite pictures from Nara.  This was right before it started to rain, so it brought out all the colors perfectly! 
On the pavilion looking the other way.

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