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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fun at Nara!


Day 3 (Nara.Kyoto~4th April 07)

In Kyoto JR station, waiting for the train to Nara.
In the train, the jounrney to Nara from Kyoto takes about 40 minutes.

The train ticket.

We reached Nara, an ancient town, once the capital of Japan.
It's a beautiful place where the old traditional spirit of Japan is still being preserved very carefully.

At JR Nara Station, there is a tourist information counter there where you can get maps and directions to your destinations.

We got very excited when we first caught sight of the cute deers roaming freely around and alighted from the bus we were in immediately!!!

Nara is famous for the tame deer that roam all over the town, and especially in Nara Park. According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since, the deers were regarded as heavenly animal to protect the city, and the country.[5] Snack vendors sell small biscuits to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. The deer have learned to bow in response to tourists' bows. They nudge, jostle, and even bite for food.

They will really bow back at you when you bow at them.
It's an amazing and hilarious sight!!

This hungry deer ate our paper map up when we dropped it on the ground.

Surrounded by deers, i was a little scared though they're very tame.

This cute deer here stood stationary for a few minutes, it just stood still at the side and many visitors just took turns standing beside it for photoshoots, including me!!

Kofukuji Temple.

In Nara, Kōfuku-ji is one of the ‘Nanto Shichi Daiji’, literally, seven major temples in the ‘South Capital’, after the capital was moved to Heian-kyō, today’s Kyoto. However, in the situation where many other major temples declined after the move of capital, Kōfuku-ji did not lose the shines with another major temple, Tōdai-ji. It is because the temple was a ‘clan’s temple’ of the Fujiwara clan, which commanded both power and fortune in many centuries.

Today, Kofukuji Temple received the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Five Storey Pagoda at Kofukuji.

a very curious and hungry deer coming near human beings trying their luck for food.

Lunch time!
It was particularly cold at this time when we were here, sitting around the heater, slurping a hot bowl of kitsune udon does the trick to keep us warm.

Muah Chee!
i should think this is one of Nara's specialties.
It's like our muah chee but 110 times softer!!!
and the peanut-like powder that comes with it is extremely fine, just like flour!
amazing and it costs us 1500yen which is quite expensive.

a nice pond

The other side of Nara basically looks like that, covered with rows of cute little huts.

Roasted sweet potatoes from a roadside vendor.
we got conned into paying 1000yen for it which is around SGD13 for one sweet potato!!!
it was such an impulsive buy that none of us even stopped to think twice without buying.
after a while, we saw even cheaper stalls selling it at half the price we got it for.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed it to bits.
It was piping hot and really sweet!

Nandaimon, the Great South Gate of the Todaiji Buddhist temple.
This gate is a National Treasure.

World Heritage Site.

Deers are really everywhere.

haha, what in the world are they doing?!

The 2 protective Buddhist statues.

After walking for quite a distance, we finally caught sight of the Todai-ji, the Buddhist temple mentioned above, reputedly the biggest wooden structure in the world.

Entering the temple requires an entrance fee of around 500yen.

Nyorin Kannon Statue

The Gigantic Daibutsu (Buddha)
Height : 14.98 meters
Face : 5.33 meters
Eyes : 1.02 meters
Nose : 0.5 meters
Ears : 2.54 meters
Weight : 500 metric tonnes

We paid 1000yen as a donation for further construction of this temple, we get to sign our names on this tile and in future, this piece of tile will be used for extension of this temple or to replace broken ones.

One of the supporting posts in the Great Buddha Hall has a hole that has been bored through the base. Visitors try to pass through the hole which is said to be the same size as one of the Daibutsu's nostrils. Legend has it that those who pass through it will be blessed with enlightenment in their next life.

another statue just at the entrance of Todaiji.

Many snacks and souvenir shops along this street.

Sakura Dori (mini shopping street in Nara, near Nara Kintetsu station)


We're back at Kyoto.
Here's Inari Station.
See the fast moving thing?
It's the train passing by, just before every train pass by, bells will ring and the red lights will flash, all cars and pedestrians will stop.

Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto god of rice, and foxes are thought to be his messengers. This shrine is dedicated to the god of harvest (wealth).

The shrine was featured in the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, that cover the hiking trails of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine's main buildings. It takes about two hours to walk along the whole trail.

It's a pity we went there when the sun's down (the sun sets at around 6pm) and it was quite spooky when we got there.

Almost no one, many crows were calling out, a mad man followed us for a while and kept saying stuff in Japanese to us which made no sense at all and plus, the ultra cold weather made a chill run down my back.
On my next visit to Kyoto (i will definitely come back), i must come to Fushimi Inari again in the day.

Dinner time at a small Okonomiyaki house.

Mixed Seafood Okonomiyaki (available in Osaka or Hiroshima style)

This clearly explains how cold we all were.
The outside air is like a really big aircon blasting cold and strong winds at you.
Temperature says 7 degrees but we thought it was colder than that.

Beautiful sakuras light up the streets of Gion.

A Pachinko Parlour.

Chilling out in our little wooden balcony.
Sake, Choya and my favourite potato sticks accompany us every night in Kyoto!

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