Monday, July 22, 2013

Nara: Buddha (part 2)

We walked through Nara Park and arrived at the main reason I went Nara: 東大寺 (Tōdai-ji). Literally, "Eastern Great Temple." Nearly 1300 years old, Tōdai-ji is a world heritage site and is also the world's largest wooden building. In fact, what stands today is supposedly only 1/3 the size of the original structure. This temple also houses the largest bronze 大仏 (daibutsu/statue of Buddha) in the world.

The view from the outside  of the temple is awe-inspiring enough, but there's nothing like the feeling you get when you walk in and see that
daibutsu for the first time. This thing is massive, y'all. My pictures of it definitely don't do it justice. Honestly, I don't believe I've seen anything more beautiful in my life. I almost cried. This place is ancient and is real.  Something as magnificent as this really exists. And I get to be here to see it.  God is good.

Inside the temple there's also a post with a hole at the bottom of it that's supposed to be the size of Buddha's nose. According to legend, if you can fit through it you will have good luck for the rest of your life. Ivy tried, wriggled through it and succeeded!

After wandering around, enjoying the scenery, and taking a break for some food, we went to our last stop, a shrine called 春日大社 (Kasuga-taisha). It's old like many things in Nara are. In my opinion there isn't anything all that unique about it, except for the thousands of stone lanterns that line the pathways leading to and from it. There are also many bronze statues inside the actual shrine, but you had to pay to enter and we weren't about to do that, so we didn't see them. From there we returned to Nara Station and headed back to Hikone.

It was scorching on Saturday, and instead of hopping on trains to get around like in other cities we've gone to together, the four of us walked the whole time. Naturally I was hot, sweaty, exhausted, and my feet hurt at the end of the day. But it was alright, because  I got to spend the day with amazing people in a serene place, seeing things that I had never imagined I'd see.

70 Days in Kansai photos (JULY/AUGUST) \
 70 Days in Kansai photos (JUNE)

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