"bLog means boring-Log"
nostromo in hello kitty land again, day 07 (0 comments)
with our base camp at the hotel, we started our day trip
right after a western style breakfast at the hotel. for this we took the JR nara line to... surprise, nara.
at the tourist information we got a local map and spotted signs from time to time telling people how to interact with deer. the guidebook said there are around 1200 deer in the area roaming around freely. but while we thought deer are shy and would be hard to spot, we were wrong. so very wrong. there were tons of deer, standing, laying around, begging for food in most of the time a friendly way, but sometimes also pushing or pursuing people (especially kids) to get their share of deer cookies, one could buy at small kiosks and huts all over the place.
so, accompanied by deer (tons of), we headed to the konfukuji-temple[001-004], but - ha, guess what! - the main site, the central golden hall was renovated and even rebuilt to its former form as it was back in the 18th century - so no konfukuji to us until 2018 (from 2011 on). so instead we admired to five storeyed pagoda right next to the scaffolding cover of the temple.
along our stroll on the lantern road[018-053] we found a little tea house called ninaijaya tea house. since we both liked the "nina" part in the name, we decided to have a break there, with a hotto cohi ("hot coffee") and tea.
refreshed we continued our walk on the road with endless numbers of lanterns to the kasuga-taisha-shrine[038-058], where even more lanterns[053,055-056] were awaiting us. also we bought some fortune telling deer there, as they had english versions of them too - yippieh! nina had a prediction summed up as "great good fortune", i only had an overall of "moderate good luck", which is pretty fine, considering one can also have a prediction of really bad luck and such.
we kept on walking by old stone lantern, covered with moss and lichen, awesome tree structures[062-065], more tons of deer to finally reach a huge park, nara park[068-084]. there we noticed that some preparations for something were going on. also people were quite busy there.
we continued our walk to and through the nandaimon torii[085-093], with two giant wooden statues on each side. and of course deer - tons of. begging for shika senbei - those crackers for deer.
well, while the gate was impressive in size and dimensions, the todaiji-temple[076-153,198-205] with giant buddha-statues[109-123,127-129,131-132,138-140,142] in the daibutsuden ("big buddha hall") was even more impressive. this hall is the world's largest wooden building, and is a reconstruction erected in the 16th century, sized only two thirds of the original hall. so the original one must have been really a quite impressive thingie!
and speaking of largest things, the bronze buddha statue inside is japan's largest one - 15 metres in height, flanked by two more bodhisattva statues[118-119,123,140], though they are a way smaller.
one could paint or write something on a roof tile, that would then later, when the roof will be renovated, be part of the roof. what a nice idea - we liked that.
also cute was this pillar[135-136] with a hole in it, where people could crawl through. of course one could also properly queue for the crawling experience, but at the time there were not many people at the temple, so we only saw the cordons but could get the picture of how many people usually would wait in line there.
those japanese are really into queueing.
on the way to the exit we once more enjoyed the huge garden[143-153], a really creepy wooden statue[144-145], and the most top-notch mechanisms in fire fighting. with all these awe-inspiring sights (and tons of deer), it was time for another little break. we found a nice quiet and lonely spot - there was only one deer - with a small bench in the shadow near the shoro[154-157], the bell-tower.
heading back to the railway station we noticed the preparations and busy people[162-164] again, when finally we found out what was going on. the nara tokae - the lantern festival - was taking place tonight. that's why there was a choir singing[162-164] and loads of cups where placed in nara park. the cups where candle holders.
we liked what a japanese woman told us in broken english what we might expect at the festival - a community event with everyone placing candles in the park. we really liked that and decided to stay, had another hotto cohi and a little snack at a nearby cafe that was overlooking the park entrance, so we could follow the progress of the festival preparations, and, as it got later, also the beginning of placing candles in the park. we supported the lantern festival by buying our own candles[177-178] and placing them in an assigned area (where there were only half a ton of deer). with the money we spent for the candle, a new candle can be bought next year - so our candle will, more or less, live on and participate next year again. aaaaaw, isn't that kawaii?
puh, what a long day. so we headed back to the station, and found... no, not deer (they were already sleeping, i guess), but cats! cute little kittens[210-211] on the street. again being fed by a caring japanese - so nice!