Japan: Nara | Simply Me / Karen Jardeleza

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Japan: Nara

Some 53 km from Osaka lies the city of Nara, once the cradle of Japanese culture, the former capital of the nation, and the center of the great Japanese arts in the early 8th century. Nara is also where Buddhism first flourished in Japan. Today the Nara area is a treasure chest of old, world-famous temples and shrines such as Todaiji, Kofukuji, Yakushiji, Toshodaiji and the Kasuga Grand Shrine. Walk their corridors and hear their rich whispers from the past.

Nara Park is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1880. Administratively, the park is under the control of Nara Prefecture. The park is one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty" designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Over 1,200 wild sika deer freely roaming around in the park is also under designation of MEXT, classified as a "Natural Monument."
Vendors at my back selling little biscuits (shika-senbei) for 150 Yen,
that the deer are happy to take directly from your hand…
and happy to nudge or bite you when you run out

Nara Park is a large park in central Nara. It is the location of many of Nara's main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum.

Todaiji ("Great Eastern Temple") is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara.

Tōdai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall,  the largest wooden building in the world, houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu. The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara. Sika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely.
Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate
This photo of the Daibutsu does give a better idea of the position of his hands (mudras). 
The position of the right hand signifies “Do not fear.”
The position of the left hand means “Welcome.”

-1st Photp: one of two great Nio gate guardians within Nandaimon
-2nd Photo: Todaiji Temple's statue of Komoku-Ten, the Guardian King of the South, holding a writing brush and scroll symbolizing the copying of sutras.
-3rd Photo: Tamonten, Guardian of the North, one of the Shitennō or Guardians of the Four Directions. Tamonten and Kōmokuten (Guardian of the West)are the only two Shitennō depicted in the Daibutsuden.

-(1)The octagonal lantern is an ancient treasure.

-(3)The incense brazier is just inside the temple grounds, right next to the gate. The bronze critters holding up the brazier must be demons or something similar, judging from the claws on their feet.
-(4)Small shrine votive plaques or ema made of wood attached to boards on the shrine precincts
Pindola Statue at Todaiji
 Souvenir shops at Todaiji Temple

Tried some street foods along Nara Park, it looks like fish ball ... It was yummy and hot which suit on a very cold weather.

We had are lunch in one of the Japanese Restaurant, of course I don't know the name of the restaurant since it's in Japanese character, before heading to our next stop... KYOTO

Previous..... Japan: Osaka
Next..... Japan: Kyoto

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