NARA PREFECTURE: OF DEER AND TEMPLES

by - 10:38 PM


The regarded messengers of Shinto GODs surrounded us.  We hear screams, giggles and excitement from varied spectators.  The vast field from where we were situated saw the presence of sika deer in huge number.


scenery as viewed from the train
The day was allotted to Nara of Japan specifically.  It started late.  From JR Kyoto Station, another scenic train ride was embarked to the countryside of Nara via the JR Nara Station.  It took almost thirty minutes to reach Nara.

landmark at JR Nara Station
Japan’s first permanent capital was established in the City of Nara and holds the record of the city with the most number of sites inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage in Japan.

KOFUKUJI TEMPLE

East Golden Hall and the five-storey pagoda

It was a relatively long walk towards the Kofukuji Temple with a straight path leading to such destination with the JR Nara Station as our vantage point.  Along the road, there are bars and commercial establishments specially catering to the tourists – being an anticipated route for the walking tour at Nara.

Kofukuji Temple was once the family temple of the Fujiwara, the most powerful clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods.  To this day, it houses buildings of historic value and the second tallest pagoda in Japan.  At 50 meters, the pagoda is shorter by 7 meters from that of Toji in Kyoto – the tallest of the pagodas.  The pagoda of the Kofukuji Temple is the landmark of the city of Nara.


time to drink...


Nan'en-do Hall

roof tile details of the pagoda

Nestled on top of a hill, the landscape is composed of the garden lake and its passers-by.  Rickshaws and bicycles pedaled through the vicinity.  Tourists and locals alike complemented with the green panorama that is being presented. 




While locating the Nara Park, we were lead to a strip of residential houses.

NARAMACHI

Translated literally as the Nara Town, Naramachi is a former merchant district of Nara.  Preserved traditional warehouses, residential buildings line up the narrow lanes of Naramachi.

There were shops of varied sorts as we try to locate the Nara Park where sika deer roam freely as pictured in our mind.  Interesting and unique finds are a common sight.  Noticeable is the fact that most of the townhouses served both as a shop and living quarter of the merchants.  It is said that the fronts were kept narrow in order to save taxes, which calculation was based on street access rather than the total area occupied.

the narrow lanes of Naramachi

interesting finds at Naramachi
As we go further, we accidentally reached the Gangoji Temple. It is one of the most important temples of the Ancient Nara Period in Japan and is inscribed as another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Admission comes with a fee and since we are running out of time, we opted just to check-out the façade and made the mandatory solo picture at the markers.

the marker
Sensing that we are of the opposite direction towards the Nara Park – our main destination, we went back from where the garden lake is situated and stroll towards a direction where sika deers started to appear.

torii gate to Nara Park
NARA PARK

Wild sika deer mingle with tourists in a vast acre of land.  These deer have been regarded as a national treasure and regarded as the symbol of Nara City.  With benches around and a few shade of trees perfect for loitering and picnic, the park serves its purpose well.

one autumn season at the Nara Park

a sika deer amused at the tourists

chilling at fall
 The sika deer may be wild but they are surprisingly tamed, though, there are a few signage displayed to warn the public of their remote aggressiveness.  For these sika deer to come near, feeding is allowed where vendors sell crackers available around the park.



A few distance of walking in the park, the National Treasure and another UNESCO World Heritage Site comes into view.
 
NANDAIMON GATE

at the Nandaimon Gate
Approaching the Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands a wooden gate guarded by two giant statues on each side.  The statues are designated as national treasures together with the gate itself.

Students on tour and varied tourists were at the front gates, some in amusement while others screaming while being flocked by deer.  The Nandaimon Gate becomes the divider between the Todaiji Temple and the natural park.



The gate does not close but the temple does.  With that, we went in a hurry to be able to witness the interior grandeur of the Temple.

TODAIJI TEMPLE   
 

One of Japan’s famous and a historically significant temple is the Todaiji Temple.  With an admission fee of 500 yen, we queued and made it on time before the temple closes to the viewing public.



As expected, there were a lot of visitors in the newly-entered compound yet sika deer can no longer be found within the vicinity.  The temple houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha surrounded by miniature temples, other terracotta statues and even souvenir shops.  It is further listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site as among the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”.





The main hall of the temple where the Buddha is situated is said to be the world’s largest wooden building. The temple truly holds a lot of world records, which I surmise is the reason for the relatively high admission fee not to mention the maintenance needed for such a vast area.


When visiting the major cities of the Kansai Region of Japan (Osaka and Kyoto), a side trip to Nara City is indeed highly recommended.

The deer and the temples define the City of Nara.

You May Also Like

1 comments

  1. Japan, japan, sagot sa kahirapan. Lol. Sana mapuntahan na kita.

    ReplyDelete