We took a quick trip on Friday from Kyoto to Nara. We expedited the trip by traveling on a Limited Express Train. The typical hour trip only took 35 minutes!
Not only is the route orange in Google Maps, so was the actual train!
Once in Nara, we made our way towards Nara Park. Within Nara Park are several famous Shrines, Temples, and deer!! The deer are a sacred part of Nara Park and considered “messengers of the gods”.
For ¥150, you could buy deer crackers from street vendors. The deer started early begging for crackers from this vendor. Look at the first picture- the deer in front is sticking his tongue out at me!
We didn’t buy any crackers. Instead, we enjoyed watching other visitors feed them.
The deer weren’t shy. They walked right up looking for a snack.
Our first Temple we visited was Kofuku-ji Temple. Pictured here are the Temple’s Golden Hall and five-story pagoda are a National Treasure and date to 1425. The Eastern Golden Hall was built by Emperor Shōmu and the pagoda by his wife, Empress Kōmyō. The pair of buildings represent the ideal of marital harmony.
Other beautiful buildings were also on the Temple’s grounds.
As we continued through Nara Park, we saw even more deer. My favorite was watching people take selfies or pose with the deer and the deer would poop or pee and the tourists didn’t notice! Ha!
The first Shrine we visited was Kasuga Taisha Shrine. The walkway to the Shrine has over 3,000 stone lanterns. No worries, I didn’t take a picture of them all. Although I tried! They were really impressive and unique.
In keeping with my tree theme of the summer, look at the tree growing inside the remains of an old tree!
After visiting the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, we were ready for lunch. It was approaching 11am and starting to really heat up. We doubled back to the area around the train station where there was a conveyor sushi restaurant. It was well air conditioned, served cold beer and delicious sushi. For those reasons, I could have stayed all afternoon.
But, we had the Todai-ji Temple to visit. The Todai-ji Temple is also a World Heritage Site. The current structure was completed in 1709. The Great Buddha Hall is the largest wooden building in the world and houses the largest bronze image of Buddha dating back to 752 (the head however has been replaced and only dates to 1692).
Now that’s a Big Buddha!
My favorite spot in the Great Buddha Hall was behind the Great Buddha. There was a lattice door allowing a delightful breeze to come through. Plus, as Bill would say, we got a chance to see Buddha’s pooper. Can you tell how hot it is!?! The breeze felt amazing!
Buddha’s Gold Pooper.
We continued around enjoying the great hall.
The fierce warriors are guardians to protect Buddha from evil.
And how about this guy? If you rub the corresponding body part on him as the part that ails you, you will be healed. I rubbed his knees and gave him a high-five!
We started to make our way back to the station to head back to Kyoto. We chased the shade the entire 20 minute walk. We purchased our train tickets for the 1400 train to Nara. While waiting to depart, I checked the weather. No wonder we were so hot! Heat index of 119!!!! Wow!
Returning back to our hotel, we enjoyed a siesta that we earned from enduring the days heat and humidity! Plus, as Dave continues to remind me, we are on vacation and naps are always ok!