Autumn Nara, day 2

For this blogpost we are returning to the Nara visit.

So on the second day in Nara we went to Todai-ji from the very morning hoping the sneak in before tourist groups appear.

Sun-lit tree in a park
Morning sun shining through Nara park trees.

Deers in Nara park
After some walking we reached the Todai-ji grounds and were greeted by the deers again.

Deers in Nara park

Nara park

Nara park

Deers in Nara park
Many-many of deers.

Deers in Nara park

Deers in Nara park
My attempts at making a picture of a deer with a super-wide lens did not give the desired effect unfortunately.

Gate to Todaiji
The middle gate to Todai-ji.

Nara park

Deers in Nara park
Deers practically attacked this old lady asking for food and she was forced to hit some of them in return.

Todaiji
Main Todai-ji building (Daibutsuden) on a sunny morning.

Todaiji
Daibutsuden is considered the largest wooden building in the world even though this latest version (rebuilt in 1709) is 30% smaller then its predecessor. It is 57m (187 ft) long and 50m (164 ft) wide.

Todaiji
Tickets to Todai-ji and museum, 800 yen per person.

Todaiji

Lantern at Todaiji
In front of Daibutsuden stands this big bronze lantern.

Incense burner at Todaiji

daibutsu of TodaijiIMG_4243
And inside there is this real bug Buddha, 14.98m (49.1 ft) high.

Even though the first statue was finished in 751 (after many years of work, almost bankrupting Japan's economy at the time as it consumed most of available bronze at the time), it was damaged in fires and earthquakes many times and recast on as-needed basis. Over 2.600.000 people made donations and otherwise helped to build the original Buddha and its hall.

Inside Todaiji

Inside Todaiji
As you enter, these are the views on the sides.

Inside Todaiji

Ringing a bell at Todaiji

Lotus petals from Daibutsu
Lotus petals that are normally installed around Buddha.

Lotus petal fragment

Lotus petal fragment
The lotus petals have images of Buddha on them and below him are multiple worlds demonstrating infiniteness of universe.

Bronze butterfly

Daibutsu

Kokuuzo-bosatsu
Kokuuzo-bosatsu is sitting at the Buddha's right-hand side.

Kokuuzo-bosatsu

Inside Todaiji

Komoku-ten in Daibutsu
Komoku-ten in the back-side of Daibutsuden.

Kamoku-ten

Daibutsu from behind

Model of Todaiji inside Todaiji
Reconstructed models of original Todai-ji site complete with two huge pagodas (that were later destroyed in earthquakes and never restored).

Model of Todaiji inside Todaiji
And model of the modern building.

Tamon-ten
In the other back corner from Komoku-ten stands Tamon-ten.

Tamon-ten
All heavenly kings usually stand on some sort of a defeated evil spirits.

Hole in pillar in Todaiji

Hole in pillar in Todaiji
In one of the columns supporting the roof there is a hole said to be of the same size as the Buddha's nostril. It is believed that if you pass through this hole you'll be blessed with enlightenment in your next life.

Daibutsu in Todaiji

 

Daibutsu in Todaiji
Left-hand from the big Buddha sits Nyoirin-kannon.

Daibutsu in Todaiji

Daibutsu in Todaiji
And an HDR attempt.

Charms on sale at Todaiji
Temple shop sells various charms.

Binzuru statue at Todaiji
Outside of the Daibutsuden sits Binzuru, one of 16 Buddha disciples. It is commonly believed in Japan that when a person rubs a part of Binzuru image and then rubs the same part of his own body, illness in that part will vanish.

Todaiji

Todaiji

Todaiji grounds

Todaiji grounds

We saw a strange construction and decided to check it out.

Some stupa near Todaiji
Turned out it was Sorin. I guess it's from the one of the 100m pagodas that were originally built there and then lost to an earthquake.

Todaiji grounds

Some temple near Todaiji
Nearby we saw another shrine and headed there.

Red leafs

Entering the shrine we apparently walked right into some wedding.

Japanese wedding

Japanese wedding

Cleaning yeallow leaves
Wedding or not, but the grounds must be kept clean, I guess.

Japanese wedding
Newlywed and parents.

Lanterns

Japanese wedding

Japanese wedding

Japanese wedding

Japanese wedding
New photo location preparation.

Japanese wedding
The bride is standing on an elevated platform to be comparable to the groom in height.

Japanese wedding

Japanese wedding

Some temple

Some temple
And some more buildings just outside.

Lantern

Todai-ji visit is finished at this time and we head back.

Road back to Todaiji
Road back to Daibutsuden.

Feeding deer
At the great gate (Nandaimon) we see a deer resting.

Deer at Todaiji great gate

Deer at Todaiji great gate
Some more wide-angle tests.

baked sweet potato
Ksusha decided to try the baked sweet potato which is a popular street food for this season. Also very overpriced at the Todai-ji grounds.

Deers at Todaiji
Seeing food the deers attack Ksusha and I am summoned to her defence after one of them bites her and damages her jacket. Soon after another girl tries to hide behind me and quickly passes me some of the deer cookies that she is afraid to feed to them herself.

This concludes the Todai-ji visit, next in plans was a visit to Horyu-ji temple. Originally we planned to go there by train, but at Kintetsunara station bus stop we saw that there is a bus going straight to there and decided to try the bus.

Bus to Horyu-ji
Inside the bus. It was making tons of stops and as a result took quite a bit of time to get to the destination. On the other hand we saw quite a bit of Nara streets.

Pass to Horyu-ji
Grove leading from the bus stop to the Horyu-ji grounds.

Horyu-ji grounds
Nandaimon, South Main Gate.

Horyu-ji grounds

Horyu-ji began when Emperor Yomei vowed to build a new temple with a Buddha image itself to recover from illness, but he never was able to complete the vow as he died shortly thereafter. Instead the construction was carried out by his wife Empress Suiko and Crown Prince Shotoku. The temple was completed in 607. But on April 30, 670 a big fire broke out that reportedly left no building standing. Nevertheless everything was rebuilt later and left standing since then. As such Horyu-ji is home of some most old wooden buildings in the world and also a place where for 14 centuries the Buddhism traditions were observed starting with Prince Shotoku, the founder of Buddhism in Japan.

The temple grounds let us see how Japan looked 1400 years ago.

Horyu-ji gate
Chumon, Central Gate.

Horyu-ji grounds
Kondo - the main hall. While this used to be a really old building, a fire incident in January 1949 destroyed most of it and now it's estimated that only 15 to 20 percent of original material remains. The size of the building is 18.5 x 15.2 meters.

Tickets to Horyu-ji
Tickets to Horyu-ji, 1000 yen per person.

Dragon decoration on a pagoda
Dragon decoration on a column.

Horyu-ji grounds
Daikodo - Great Lecture Hall.

Five story pagoda
Pagoda in Sai-in area. It's 32.45m (122 ft) high and is really old. The center column tree was felled in 594, which makes this pagoda 14 centuries old. The side of the pagoda is 20 m in length and though it's five-storied, there is no way to climb there inside, it's designed to inspire people with its external view.

Pagoda and Kondo
Pagoda and Kondo together.

View from the gate
View from the Central gate at Southern Gate.

Guardian statue at the gate
One of the guardians of the Central gate.

Shoryoin
Shoryoin - Hall of Prince Shotoku soul.

shoes at the entrance to Shoryoin
Naturally you need to remove your shoes before going inside.

Inside Shoryoin

Inside Shoryoin
Inside of Shoryoin.

Fall colors

Dragon water-tap

Some Horyu-ji buildings
Road to Daihozoin - gallery of temple treasures (naturally no photography allowed).

Some Horyu-ji buildings

Some Horyu-ji buildings

And a bit of Fall colors.

Fall colors

Fall colors

Fall colors

Inner gate at Horyu-ji

Inner gate at Horyu-ji
Todaimon - East main gate that leads us to East Precint.

Rooftiles

Roof tiles

Inner gate at Horyu-ji
Nice roof-tiles decorations.

Some building in Horyu-ji

Some building in Horyu-ji
Also some unmarked building on the way to Eastern Precinct.

Dolphin roof-top decoration
Another roof decoration, this time it's stylized dolphin. (I would never guess it was not some sort of fish if I have not seen a similar thing with an explanation at Emperor's palace in Tokyo).

Yumedono
Yumedono (Hall of visions) is associated with Prince Shotoku.

Roof devcoration of Yumedono
Yumedono roof-top decoration.

Belfry
Bellfry.

This was the last point of the exposition, so we turned back.

Horyu-ji passage
The passage from Eastern part of the grounds to the central one.

Roof decoration: rabbit
Another nice roof decoration, this time it's rabbit.

Horyu-ji complex
Last glance at Horyu-ji.

Small shrine in the middle of nowhere
On the way back - worship place in the middle of a road.

Wide pans on a worker
Nice pants!

Tonkatsu restaurant
Back at Kintetsunara station we found a place to eat in this Tonkatsu restaurant.

Various juices on sale at 7/11
At local 7/11 store we find this bunch of bottles and buy one that tastes really-really nice, says "mikan" (tangerine) on the label, so we return for more and notice there are different kinds of them available, so we buy one kind of each. I translated all of the labels, and all names are different kinds of oranges or tangerines.

Tangerine and orange juices bottles
Of all kinds, the only one Ksusha loved was still "mikan" one (at the left), the darker-colored one. Really tastes like tangerine. Unfortunately nowhere else did we see this brand of juice (that was really nice even though pretty expensive). All other mikan juices we tried to buy were not nearly as good somehow.

This concludes our day 2 in Nara.

Categories: