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Nara

My first post of our trip in Japan!
We've been here for almost a week now, but we've been so busy that the report of the beginning of the trip (Osaka, Kyoto) will have to wait for now.


Today we took things a little easy so we could properly rest up for Tokyo.

We had ramen for lunch in Kyoto and then headed for the Central St.

It still amazes me, it’s so grand and spacious and really incredibely clean!

We we’re heading for the ticket booths when I noticed a sign with ‘Sky Garden’ on it and we decided to check it out. We took the escalator and when we got to the first floor there were sets of absolutely enormously long stairs!


  



Down on the platform there was an actual stage where performances can be held, there were even stagelights set up as a part of the architecture. I love how there are things like this everywhere in the big Japanese cities!

We hopped on to another set of escalators and after that we came at the top of the roof, where there was a cute little garden with a view on the city.
 

   

 

We relaxed here for a bit and then headed for the train to Nara.

Nara is a bit different from what I have seen up till now, it’s smaller and the atmosphere is different. We arrived at about 2 and since we didn’t have much time we decided to make for the Todaiji Temple right away.

On the way we passed a fabric store, the first I have seen here, with some beautiful kimono fabrics.
 



We passed through largest part of Nara Park where we first saw the second largest pagoda of the world, which has 5 stories and is over 50 meters high.

Crossing the road we came to the bit of park where the famous Nara deers walk freely about. I thought it would be nice to feed them and bought some crackers and got assaulted by hungry deer immediately. You’d think they’re really nice and cute but they we’re quite aggressive! They came running after me for cookies. I chickened out and threw them at Faried, but when he started feeding them even more came on to him, including one ferocious male deer. When all the crackers were gone he started bumping into Faried and pestering him for more. Faried kept his cool but I ran away yelling totally scared, haha. (It reminded us of that one episode of Lucky Star where Tsukasa is attacked by deer ^^)


 

We passed through more of Nara Park and the Nandaimon Gate, where there were even more deer everywhere.

Then we finally arrived at the gates of Todaiji Temple. It was already late and it would only by open for half an hour by then, so we bought are tickets hastily and hurried inside. And there I laid eyes on the most incredibly building I have ever seen.

It is now a lot smaller than it used to be, but the Great Buddha Hall (or Daibutsuden) is still the largest wooden structure in the world. It is the home of the Vairocana Buddha and an important place of prayer and Buddhist doctrinal research. Centuries long Todaiji had produces many famous scholar priests, and I was very excited to be there and see it with my own eyes.



We entered the fenominal building and there was the Virocana Buddha. Photo’s don’t do this statue justice, it was absolutely breathtaking. (Faried told me later that my mouth was actually hanging wide open) I threw some 50¥ coins in the offeringbox and prayed for a few minutes, trying to take in some of the infinite light and wisdom.



Around the Buddha statue were other statues of gods, and in one corner there was a special pillar that was a part of the building structure. It was a thick wooden pillar like all others but at the bottom there was a small square hole. It’s said if you crawl through the hole to the other end you will be eternally blessed. I wanted to try it but it was really very small, and I couldn’t even get my shoulders through at first try. But then I saw people that were much larger than me get through with some effort and I tried again, this time twisting my body sideways. It was pretty hard and very scary, but I got through and it felt amazing. Because I thought it was impossible at first, but then I changed the odds in my favor and it worked out all right. I am thankful for this lesson at this amazing place.




Outside we saw the statue of Binzuru, one of the sixteen arahats, Buddha’s disciples. It’s believed in Japan that when a person rubs a part of the image of Binzuru and then rubs the corrosponding part of his own body, his ailment there will heal. I made another prayer, clapping my hands and touched his feet and then my own.

By that time it was already 5 o’clock and we headed for the exit.

We took off for the station and ended the day with a chococornet. (I ate it Miyuki style ^^)

 

 

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