Todaiji Temple - dedicated to animals
The main hall of Todaiji Temple houses the Diahutsu and is known as the world's largest wooden structure. There is a shrine here that's dedicated to animals and it is here that you'll find Nara park, or better known as Deer Park.
Deers roam freely here and are friendly when they know you have a treat for them. But watch out, they can get aggressive if they smell food and you aren't sharing!
Spend some time here as the architecture of this place is magnificent. Please check travelogue for more pix.
Entrance fee : US$4.24 per person
Kofukuji Temple - Remnants of a Powerful Clan
Kofukuji Temple (Temple of Growing Bliss) consists of a few historically significant buildings and a five-storied pagoda that is Japan's tallest. It used to be the family temple of a very powerful clan in Japan - the Fujiwara Clan. At the pinnacle of the clan's heyday, the temple had over 150 buildings.
As with many great historical buildings in Japan, Kofukuji also has a precious art and treasure collection which is available for viewing at its Treasure House. Examples are the Thousand-armed Kannon, Hachibushi (Beings of the Eight Classes) and Buddha Head (originally from Yamadadera), etc.
The temple was put on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1998.
Kokuhokan Museum: 9:00-17:00 (enter by 16:00). ¥500.
Tokondo Hall: 9:00-17:00 (enter by 16:00). ¥300.
Shinto Shrine in Nara
This is part of one of the Shinto shrines in Nara. One of the things that becomes obvious in Japan, as elsewhere in Asia, is the way that local and imported religions blend together to form a unique set of practices.
I was an exchange student in Nara back in 2002 for 6 months and I fell in love. Have been back once since then and I am going again this summer. Will add photos after that trip :) but until then if you have any question about Nara please ask! :D
This large gate welcomes worshippers and believers into the Todaiji Temple compound. As usual, 2 wooden giant guardians stood on each side of the gate to check on the sincerity of the worshippers.
"Kagami ike Pond"
Imagine sitting quitely overlooking the garden and pond - sans tourists. A fantastic place to meditate and contemplate the meaning of life - or what to have for dinner later.
"The Great Image of Buddha (Vairocana Buddha)"
Most popularly known as Daibutsu, this bronze image of Buddha sits calmly and serenely atop a lotus flower. A good reason why the Todaiji Temple is built so large is to accommodate not one but a total of 3 bronze statue and 4 guardian statues.
Fierce and frightening.
"Stairs? or Ladder?"
"The 4 stone pavement"
Stones from 4 different Buddhist countries were brought to Nara to pave the way to enlightment towards the Image of Buddha. The middle dark single lined stone was brought in from India, the main epicentre of Buddhism. Flanking it are stones brought from China, with the largest Buddhist believers. Next to them, are stones from neighbouring country Korea and finally, the rest were from Japan, completing the 4 main Buddhist stronghold at the time. Interesting.