Monday, December 8, 2014

Nara, Japan

It's about time I get back to blogging about our trip to Japan. With Osaka as "home base" we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto then loaded a tour bus and traveled an hour or so to get to Nara. Our half-day tour began at Todai-ji (Eastern Great Temple Complex). This area (Nara Koen) is known for it's 1,200 or so tame deer that roam the area freely.
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.


Jennilyn said...

I love your missionary son photos and the TRAVEL! Beautiful, and funny story about "having time" language mis-cue. Happy Holidays!

Valerie said...

What beautiful pics! I know if I went there with my children, my youngest would make us stay with the deer all day. I can't believe they bow. :)

Emmalyn said...

Beautiful! What bizarre fun deer - I love how they bowed!