toda-ji temple is not only beautiful, but is the oldest wooden temple in the world. It also has the Great Buddha which is 16 meters high. It is an impressive sight. The Buddha hall was actually build up around the statue after the Buddha was completed.
This was originally built in 746 and has lasted through some fires -- however, the fires did destroy parts of both the structure and the Buddha.
In the temple is a hollowed out pole. If you can squeeze through it, your soul can be cleansed and you can reach enlightenment; be forewarned: you'd have to be about 3 years old to get through it!
The gardens are typical Japanese - ponds, bridges, stone gardens. Everything is manicured within an inch of its life.
Destination - Nara
Nara is small town. It is just 30 minutes train journey from Kyoto. Actually you can opt to stay in Kyoto and reach Nara in the morning, and go back to Kyoto in the night.
There are JR lines that go to Nara from Kyoto, the timing of which you can confirm on the Kyoto railway station.
Moving Around Nara
After reaching Nara, to talk about my personal experience, rent a bicycle and move around the town!!! I bet you will enjoy more this way. In Japan you can rent bicycle easily after depositing your passport.
Take my word for it....
Click the photo for a better view
Taxi, in Japan, would be an expensive bargain!
Bus is a very convenient mode of transport, but Nara is more beautiful on bicycles. Being small town distances are shorter!!!
I don't know if this place should be classified' as off the beaten path'but....you must go and visit the university town of Tenri.You can get there by train and it certainly is worth the trip.
Also go to Koyasan,which is up in the mountains out of Osaka.Stay at a traditional Japanese Inn.
Fondest memory: Each temple has its own history and it is interesting to learn the reasons why these temples were built.
The most famous temple is TODAIJI where the biggest Bhuddha statue is, but don't miss to visit to NIGATUDO , backside of TODAIJI. Sunset view from there would be unforgettable memory.
Fondest memory: Nara National Museum. Every November the biggest exhibition of sho-so-in temple's art collections is held. Picture, Glass, Sutra-text, Chinese guiter and other etc....these item were imported from Iran , China and other countries through the silk-road 1500 years ago. It is the evidence of culture cilculation at long time ago.