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Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Day Excursion to Nara, Japan

Nara, Japan Photo by myself in Nara, Japan.

Several deer mingle with visitors in Nara. Above, one of the gorgeous historic wooden structures in the park.

Nara was once the capital of Japan, back between 710 to 784, when it was called Heijokyo. The city is located 4 hours from Fukuoka, where we are staying. It is 1 hour away from Kyoto, another historic city we will visit later, and it is 3.5 hours from Tokyo.

I visited Nara on Friday, as much to see the historic temples as the deer, which are not afraid of humans. It was a bright and super-hot day. The walk from the train station to Nara Park was a short one, lined with stores and eateries. Deer were scattered about and hawkers were selling bread to feed them for 150 yen (about $2 US).

One of the first things I did was buy some bread to feed the deer. I immediately found myself swarmed by male bucks. The pushiest one kept poking me with his antlers. At one point I had my back turned and got some serious pokes from behind. All I can say is, OUCH!!

I love animals, but after a short while I decided the deer were stomachs on legs. The females and younger males were much less pushy.

Nara deer, Japan My nemesis. Note the very, very pointy antler ends and evil gleam in his eye. This fellow probably stays up at night sharpening his antlers with glee.

As for the temples, they are certainly a must-see. Some seemed much larger than the ones I saw in Beijing earlier this year, with swooping roofs and deep overhangs. The gate near the Todaiji Temple was very tall, with soaring timber supports inside. You could see all the joinery, which was incredible.

Nara, Japan The Kohfukuji Temple was reconstructed in 1426, after burning down five times.

Nara, Japan Outside the Todaiji Temple, which houses a huge wooden buddha. The Temple is the largest wooden structure in the world.
Nara, JapanA sign warning of the deer. I am the figure on the lower left.

Nara deer, Japan One of the many bucks getting some attention from schoolchildren. He is snickering at me.

Nara, Japan A final view looking out from the Todaiji Temple. As you can see, the grounds are meticulously kept.

I am away in Japan through the rest of August! Posts will continue here, as usual.

Related posts: On French Maids and Boston Terriers, in Japan, A Trip to the Countryside, in Yufuin, Japan, and A Visit to the Tsujiki Fish Market, in Tokyo.

4 comments:

James Wei said...

Nara is the oldest wooden heritage site in Japan. Love that place :)

Wayne said...

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. :-)

biebkriebels said...

Ha,ha, that is difficult to visit a temple with all those deers around.

Kitty said...

Hi James!
Ah you're so lucky to live sort of close by. I am just dying to visit Australia.

Ha Wayne!

Hi Bieb!
ha, these creatures were very funny without meaning to.