Trip to Nara

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Spent a nice day with Michico and other friends in Nara today (click here to see a slideshow of the pictures I’ve taken)!

Nara (奈良市 Nara-shi?) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji and the Heijō Palace remains, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

First stop, Horyu-ji

Hōryū-ji (法隆寺 lit. Temple of the Flourishing Law?) is a Buddhist temple in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, Japan. Its full name is Hōryū Gakumonji (法隆学問寺), or Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law, the complex serving as seminary and monastery both.
The temple’s pagoda is widely acknowledged to be of the oldest wooden buildings existing in the world, underscoring Hōryū-ji’s place as one of the most celebrated temples in Japan.[1][2] In 1993, Hōryū-ji was inscribed together with Hokki-ji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area. The Japanese government lists several of its structures, sculptures and artifacts as National Treasures.

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.. some very very old wooden monuments here…

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.. and some really nice tourist guides…

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.. a short break for some food…

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.. and then off to our second stop, Nara Park..

According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country. Snack vendors sell small biscuits to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. Some of the deer have learned to bow in response to tourists’ bows. They nudge, jostle, and even bite for food.

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.. and the adjacent Tōdai-ji temple complex..

Tōdai-ji (東大寺 Tōdai-ji?, Eastern Great Temple),[1] is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden), the largest wooden building in the world,[2] houses the world’s largest statue of the Buddha Vairocana,[2] known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu (大仏). The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism.

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.. took some pictures with the locals…

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Also here, a quite entertaining guide helped us out…

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.. the great statue of Buddha, also called ‘Daibutsu‘, which is a stunning 15 metres high and weighs 500 tonnes!

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.. despite the cold and rainy weather a very pleasant day!

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