3 July 2011
Going to Nara (奈良) from Kyoto using JR’s Miyakoji Kaisoku (みやこ路快速) train, approx 45 minutes, ¥1380 return way. Once touch down, I was quite lucky meeting several foreigners and a Japanese lady, Hitomi-san, whom are going the same way.
Avoiding the main path way, we choose the walk from the hillside of Mount Wakakusa (若草山 Wakakusa-yama)
Nigatsu-dō (二月堂, “The Hall of the Second Month”)
Walking up the clobber stones on the East of the Great Buddha Hall, lays the Nigatsu-dō. The building has an unique structure with the pillars made to support the building following the layout of the terrain to level the 2nd floor.
The complex view from the 2nd floor.
The Nara period was the establishment of Buddhism in Japan. The site is famous of its bronze lanterns, Tsuri-dōrō and scattered stone lamps. Must be a sight when night falls.
The wooden walkway
The red torii to the park
The sōrin (相輪 lit. alternate rings) made of bronze. The sōrin was exhibited on the roof of the seven storied pagoda in EXPO’70 and presently stationed here.
Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple)
Bodhisattva playing a flute (8th century) Octagonal gilt bronze lantern (金銅八角燈籠, kondō hakkaku tōrō)
Entering the Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden), we are greeted by the bronze statue of the Buddha, Vairocana/Daibutsu (大仏), “the light of whose knowledge and compassion illumines widely”.
Details of the Daibutsu’s lotus seat made of bronze. The engraving are from the 8th century, depicting “Lotus-Matrix World-System” (Sankrit: Padma-garbha-loka-dhatu, Jp. Rengezo Sekai). Above is the 26 horizontal lines with small Buddha images and palaces array between them.
Nyoirin Kannon (銅造如意輪観音半跏像, dōzō Nyoirin Kannon hankazō)
Kōmokuten (広目天), The King of the West. He’s one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Shitennō (四天王).
Heads of Zōchōten (增長天) The King of the South and Jikokuten (持國天) The King of the East. 18 Century. The two are part of the Four Heavenly Kings, Shitennō (四天王).
miniature complex of the temple
The temple miniature with a peek-a-boo from the statue of Buddha from the window
A supporting wooden beam with a hole (that might be the size of the Daibutsu’s nose). It says that if you go through it, he or she will be blessed with enlightenment. I didn’t try it because there’s a long queue but it’s interesting.
Outside of the Great Buddha Hall
The deers at Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen). Visitores can feed the deers with “deer-crackers” (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei)
Legend has it that Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, descents with a white deer. Hence the deers are considered divine and believe to be the messengers of the gods.
Hitomi-san and Izia feeding the deers with the deer crackers and get them to bow their heads
… not sure what they’re doing…
Of course we need to be careful around them. Even when they’re gentle and graceful, their hooves and antler might pack a punch
Nara Prefecture Office
Kohfukuji (興福寺) National Treasure Hall
The people doing water painting near the pond
The street with Tanabata ornaments
Source: Wikipedia, Travelwiki, Lonelyplanets, Tripavisor, Todaiji Website