After far too many hours on the train I met more lovely faces in Kyoto. Heather, her sister Mackenzie, and her friend Katlyn were all eagerly waiting my arrival. We spent the day going to the nearby town of Nara. Nara is an unofficial companion city to Kyoto, as it is close enough to make a day trip while staying in the city. The major sights can be seen in just an afternoon, which was perfect for our group of weary travelers. We were all at the end of multi-stop travels, and our motivation and organization was low.
Nara’s most famous attraction is Todaiji Temple famous for the GIANT wooden Buddha or Daibutsu. I have seen numerous photos and it was on my (revised) bucket list for Japan. The Buddha is 49.1 ft tall, the face is 17.5 ft tall, and the eyes are 3ft across. The temple surrounding the Buddha is the tallest all wood structure in the world. The Daibutsu was completed in the year 751. Parts of the statue have been recast because of damage caused by earthquakes and fires. The structure containing the Daibutsu has been rebuilt 3 times due to destruction from (you guessed it) fire and earthquakes. The current Todaiji Hall was completed in 1709.
On the way to Todaiji there are a number of other temples and shrines and deer along the way. In fact Nara is famous for the deer. They have lived in the city for hundreds of years and don’t have any fear of humans. Vendors sell cookies to feed to the deer, and they will fight or whine until you feed them. While kinda cute they were pretty annoying after a few minutes. They had no problem digging through your bag to find more treats, or bitting your pants when your snack ran out. I was a victim of both deer crimes.
Despite the pesky deer Nara is a pretty cool place. Wouldn’t mind going back.