A Travellerspoint blog

Nara day trip

City of deers

sunny 11 °C

Today we are doing a day trip to Nara. The snow from yesterday has gone and we have been hit by a heatwave as today will reach a max of 11. Nara was the first capital of Japan in the 710. Therefore Nara is full of temples. The biggest and most famous is the Todaiji temple. Our plan was to visit this temple and its surrounds as well as the biggest attraction the deers. Train ride from Kyoto to Nara took about 40 minutes. Nice to get a look at more of Japanese countryside. The train station is right in the middle of town so we got out of the train and headed towards Todaiji temple. Within minutes we encountered our first deers. Deers on the path getting food from tourists. The food they are given is sold to tourists by vendors. They are called deer biscuits and the deers go crazy for them.
The deer are everywhere. On the paths, sitting in parks, next to the road but always aware of someone with the cherished deer biscuits. During our time Jen and I feed them three times with mixed results. First time was a disaster. When they surround you they nip at you or give you a gentle nudge to tell you i am here and give me a biscuit. Jen dropped her biscuits when they first surrounded her not ready for the onslaught. I managed a little better, however, i got nipped and bumped a few times. By the third time we worked out how to position yourself so it was a bit of a success. The fun is watching everyone else dealing with feeding them. We couldn't stop laughing at the scenes around us. Awesome fun. They are regarded as messangers of the gods and are therefore sacred.
We slowly made our way through the park and towards the temple. The temple was completed in the 8th century and houses the worlds largest bronze Buddha statue. Since its completion is has been burnt twice and rebuilt. Leading up to temple are large entrance gates and then onto the temple. It is an awesome building to behold and i don't think pictures can do it justice. Inside is the massive buddha and other statues. Amazing. We spent a while wandering around this temple taking in the ambience. Everyone seemed to be happy and enjoying the positive energy this temple gives out.
We decided to make our way back. Stopped at a cafe and had some lunch and a beer. Made our way back to the station and caught the train back to Kyoto. Another quiet night as we are heading to Arashiyama tomorrow. Nara was excellent and should be a must if you get to Japan.

Posted by andrewjenny 00:31 Archived in Japan Tagged japan temple statue nara buddha deer bronze todajii

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