This is going to be a post from the vaults, I in fact began writing this one about 6 months ago but never got around to posting it along with so many others. Anyhow without further a due….
Nara (奈良) is an ancient capital city in Nara Prefecture, Kansai region of Japan.
Along with the development of Heijōkyō 平城京, the capital of Japan between 710-784 AD, Nara flourished under the influence of Buddhism, leading to the creation of an enormous number of cultural assets, buildings and books, many of which are preserved today. Nara has the largest number of buildings designated National Treasures in Japan.
While the Heijōkyō Palace (平城宮) site turned into plain fields after the capital was moved to Kyoto, the shrines and temples were left on the east side of the palace (called Gekyo (外京)), and Buddhism remained influential throughout the following centuries. Another part of the area developed as a merchant town, notably in the Edo period, known as Naramachi (奈良町) today.
Now at the end of last year when my parents came up to Japan to visit me I took them to check out Nara, since its pretty much a staple when visiting the country and extremely tourist trappy.
I myself had visited Nara twice before on previous visits to Japan but it was nice to be able to share such am amazing place with my family.
I want to share some of the photos of the with you.
Arriving on a Sunday outside Nara station the was a large group of performers singing and dancing to Okinawan Taiko (Japanese drumming).
Most of Nara’s temples and shrines concentrated in Nara Kouen 奈良公園 (Nara Park) and are more of less entirely accessible by traveling on foot.
For anyone that’s been to Nara before, the truly special and stand out thing about it are definitely the deer, these guys just walk around the town as they please not bothering anyone. Long ago they were considered to be sacred however post WW2 were redesignated as national treasures, visitors can buy Shika-senbei 鹿煎餅 (deer cookies) to feed to them for about 150¥ from vendors in carts around the park.
We grabbed some Takoyaki たこ焼き for lunch.
This guy here is the Daibutsuden 大仏殿 (Great Buddha Hall) the most significant building in Naras Tōdai-ji 東大寺 complex. Inside it houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue which in Japanese is called the Daibutsu 大仏. Tōdai-ji has existed since the 7th century, yet has gone through several periods of decline, destruction rebuilding in the past 1300 years due to disease, war and politics.
For shits n giggles: In 855 the head of the Daibutsu actually fell off!