Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 3: Nara + Horyuji

Sleep finally catches up with me and I end up napping much longer than I hoped, getting off on the day later than expected. Stop off for a quick breakfast and you can't really complain about this for 480 yen (~$4.80):
From food, to train, then off to Nara; the first attempt at a permanent capital (short lived, it would transfer to Kyoto where it would stay until Edo/Tokyo became the capital), and home to many temples- one of which houses the largest bronze representation of Buddha in Japan.

Much of this is housed within Nara Park; a sprawling landscape of trees, temples, gardens and Sika Deer you can feed by hand:
Mostly harmless, you'll find them relaxing throughout the park:
While there are many temples, buildings, and a garden here, the primary attraction is Todaji Temple where the Buddha is housed:
Said to be the largest wooden structure in the world, it's pretty easy to see why it would have to be once you're inside: this is one big Buddha

After touring the temple, I move on to see some of Naramachi where the city has worked to maintain or reconstruct houses in the traditional style. Here I'm able to tour Koshi-no-ie: a traditional Machiya style residence that served as both home and workplace for merchants and tradesmen. As such, it's designed with both living areas and features that enable for storage and access to the street:
At this point, my late start is catching up to me so it's off to the railway station and a quick hop over to Horyuji where the namesake temple is the oldest known wooden structure in the world: with a history dating back 1300 years. If I'd had more time, Nara Park can easily eat up much of a day alone.

Set a short walk north of the station, Horyuji Temple is a sprawling complex of buildings with the primary structure consisting of a central main hall and a five story pagoda:
There is much to see here and, within the complex itself behind the Eastern Precinct is Chuguji Temple: the nunnery counterpart to its neighbour:

With the day coming to a close, it's time to head back to Kyoto for dinner: a set meal of duck + udon noodles, rice, and sides:
followed by a stop at the bakery on the way home for a small bit of desert:

Tomorrow's forcast: overcast, light drizzles, chance of castle siege and sizzle...

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