21 April 2009

Japan Part 2

The jet lag the first few days had us either wanting to sleep at inopportune moments or not sleeping at all! But hey, you had to just keep going because there was just so much to see and do.

From Kyoto we took a day trip to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan between 710 and 784, home to eight temples and shrines which form the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train journey took about 50 minutes from Kyoto on a local train (our first trip on the Shinkansen (bullet train) would have to wait for another day. We discovered on that journey what Japanese people do when they get on trains, in fact, they seem to be able to do it just about anywhere.....




We were so lucky with the weather in Nara (indeed our whole trip), the sun was shining and the sky was blue....and it felt warm.... we had seen cherry blossom in Kyoto but the weeping cherry tree we saw in Nara was something else....



Todai-ji Temple - the Todai-ji Temple's Great Buddha Hall is the largest wooden building in the world, housing the world's largest statue of Buddha at almost 15m tall! It was rebuilt in 1709 and is 57m long and 50m wide it's 30% smaller than its predecessor!   The entrance to the temple complex is through the Nandaimon, the Great South Gate which is also a massive structure. But nothing compares to the hall itself.....



We then wandered through the park (full of tame deer, the messengers of the gods) to the Kasuga Shrine,  a Shinto shrine within the park. In Shintoism renewal is key and this meant in the past that shrines were rebuilt every 20 years. The Kasuga Shrine was last rebuilt in 1853 but prior to that had been rebuilt approximately 50 times. The shrine is famous for its lanterns, whether they are the stone lanterns that line the walkway to the shrine of the brass and copper lanterns in the shrine itself.



6 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Beautiful pictures Ms. Woolie. I'm really enjoying reading about your trip and making this tour while sitting in my chair!

Manoute said...

I am so jealous ;o)
What a wonderful trip!
Did you bring back a lantern?

kiko said...

Thank you for helping me go down the memory lane. I visited the Todai-ji temple for 6th grade school trip and yes, I too slept on a train as I took trains to get to my high school everyday. :D (if I was lucky enough to get a seat) I can't wait to hear more about your trip!!

Ravenhill said...

I sure wish I had been along. I have always dreamed of visiting Japan. You are so fortunate! Guess what arrived!? Oh, you are so kind!!! Not to mention incredibly talented! Thank you so much for the beautiful little red robin hood blankie!!! We all adore it.
Hugs from Emily xxx

Tiffany said...

hi, i jumped over here from amisha's blog and just wanted to say that i am happy you enjoyed nara so much. i lived there for a while and long to return. so many people overlook nara but in my opinion, it is too charming to miss. thanks for the lovely images.

Bethany Hissong said...

These photos are absolutely gorgeous Di!!! You definitely need to blow some up to frame! You also have me thinking now... I can visualize a show... Japanese theme. And those cherry blossoms... that's what heaven looks like!