Nara was the capital of Japan before Kyoto, followed by Tokyo. I was not particularly interested to see the place, simply because Kyoto is so stupendously endowed, but in the end I came away really liking the place.
Instead of the hundreds of temples and hidden gems in its neighbour, Nara has a couple of major sights and is otherwise a very pleasant feeling and relaxed small town. It was nice to get some appreciation of what a smaller place in Japan was like, rather than the uber-cityscape of Tokyo and the all too beautiful charms of Kyoto.
The main attraction is the Todaji-Ji temple and is the largest wooden building, built to house Japan’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. It really is a deeply impressive sight.
The other funny thing is that in the expansive grounds around the temple are hundreds of deer. They pretty much have the run of the town and throngs of tourists feed them on cookies. As a result, they have developed complete fearlessness with humans and will grab at anything remotely food-like, including going for your pockets. It is also assumed that these animals carry the message of the gods – clearly the gods like cookies!
The deer in their relentless pursuit of food
Japanese schoolgirls walk in a line to class
The largest wooden building in the universe
Rather like a Samurai helmet!
Mum & Dad – bannisters!!! Actually, it seems like the grain of the wood does not curve … so, did they carve the bend?
A walk in the woods
Land of the setting sun
Delivery company logos are invariably very cute