It's pretty crazy and fascinating at the same time. Our tour guide showed us how the deer have been taught to bow before receiving any food from visitors.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away from the deer and ventured further into the temple complex.
This 16-petal flower is a symbol of the Emperor.
This structure houses a 53-foot bronze statue of Buddha.
A gold-leafed wooden disciple sits beside him
while four menacing guardians stand in each corner of the temple.
A curious activity within the great hall is for tourists to crawl through a hole in a pillar that is the exact size of one of the Buddha's nostrils. It definitely gives perspective to the size of the great statue. (Blurry photo, but you get the idea.)
As we exited the temple these school children approached us and asked if we had the time. I proceeded to pull out my phone and tell them the time, but they seemed confused and repeated the question. Eventually, we figured out that they were asking if I had time--time to answer a few questions. Of course I obliged. They asked me where I was from, what food I liked best in Japan, etc. It was a sweet interaction. They then asked if they could take my picture, and of course, I took one of them.
Our next stop of the morning was Kasuga Taisha (a Shinto Shrine).
This shrine is famous for the more than 2,000 stone lanterns that line its pathways. They were gorgeous.
I'm extremely grateful to be able to travel with Brian every once in a while and explore such places in the world.