Nara is famous for its temples and deer. The latter are found pretty much everywhere around Mount Wakakusa. They are free to go everywhere but usually hang out where tourists are in hope of receiving some food. They are usually very friendly although some signs warn about possible deer attack. After all the deer are seen as heavenly animal, protecting the city and the country and therefore have to, once in a while, display their power! I suppose those signs are targeted at kids or adults that get too close. The deer in Nara seem addicted to “Osenbei” and walk slowly, often in groups, towards anybody holding some in their hands!
Too bad the Kofuku-ji temple was under restoration work when we were in Nara, but the dedication Japanese people have at preserving their historical heritage sites is surely amazing and appreciated. The Kofuku-ji five-storey pagoda is still standing proud in Nara’s skyline.
The Kasuga Grand Shrine is a shinto shrine famous for its bronze and stone lanterns. As most locations in Nara, deers are free to wander around and they are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods.
The Horyuji Temple is located a short train ride from the more popular Nara station. Once we arrived at the Horyuji station, a volunteer guide approached us to offer a free guided visit of the Horyuji temple which we really appreciated. The temple contains some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. This temple was founded by Prince Shotoku, one of the pioneers in bringing Buddhism to Japan. Our guide told us that the ashes of Buddha were buried under the pagoda. The way by which the ashes got there from India remain a mystery so I am a bit sceptical about the presence of the “real” ashes of Buddha. The Horyu-ji temple is really large with plenty of buildings to see. There is even an indoor museum with exhibits of rare and precious Buddhist statues.
Nara is well known for its historical sites like the Todai-ji temple, but the city also offers gorgeous parks to explore. The area around those small lakes was especially enjoyable with the reflection of the bridge and Cherry blossom trees (Sakura) on the water. I could also hardly resist to take photos of newly-weds during their wedding photo-shoot.
The largest statue of Buddha in the world is located under the roof of Todai-ji temple. The statue measures about 15 metres high and is estimated to weigh about 500 tonnes (500000 kg) . To cover the massive statue, the temple is of large dimension, perhaps one of the most impressive historical site in Nara.