Travel To Japan, Part 3 Nara

Travel to Japan, and discover the city of Nara, as part 3 of my amazing trip to Japan.
Nara is located less than an hour from Kyoto and Osaka. The city remains full of historic treasures, including some of the oldest and largest temples in Japan.

Japan’s first permanent capital was established at Heijo (former name of Nara), in the year 710. The Buddhist temples of Nara became a serious threat to the government, as their influence and political ambitions were increasing.
Constructed in 752 as the head of these temples, the Todaiji Temple (“Great Eastern Temple”) grew so powerful that the capital has to be moved to Nagaoka in 784.

The main hall of the Todaiji, is the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) and it’s the world’s largest wooden building, even if the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original size.
The massive hall protects one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu), a 15 meters tall, seated Buddha representing Vairocana and two Bodhisattvas on his sides.

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. With eight temples, shrines, ruins and Kasugayama Primeval Forest, forming the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, it’s a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site to visit and explore.

Established in 1880, Nara Park, is a large park in central Nara. It’s the location of many of Nara’s main attractions including Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji, Kasuga Taisha and the Nara National Museum.
Nara’s Park is also know for being the home of nearly 1200 deers, roaming freely. In Shinto, deers are considered to be messengers of the gods, and they even have been designated as national treasure.
People can feed them with deer crackers, that can be found all around park.

The Toshodaiji Temple was founded in 759 by a Chinese priest, Ganjin. He was invited to Japan by the emperor to improve Japanese Buddhism and train priests. Ganjin had a large influence in the introduction of Buddhism to Japan.

After 10 years of renovation, Toshodaiji’s main hall (Kondo), re-opened at the end of 2009. It was originally located in the Nara Imperial Palace, as an administrative building.

Located nearby the Toshodaiki, the Yakushiji Temple was constructed by the Emperor Tenmu in the late 7th century. It is one of the oldest temples in Japan, Yakushiji is flanked by two pagodas, and the Eastern one is undergoing renovation until 2019.

Established in 710 at the same time as the capital, the Kofukuji Temple of Nara was used by the most powerful family clan (Fujiwara) during the Nara and Heian periods.
The Kofukuji Temple is also the ground of the Eastern Golden Hall and Kofukuji’s National Treasure Museum, which houses one of the most celebrated Buddhist statues in Japan, the three-faced, six-armed, Ashura Statue.

Kofukuji’s main building, the Central Golden Hall, was destroyed in a fire in 1717. A smaller replacement hall was built in the 1800s. Currently, the Central Golden Hall is being rebuilt at its original size. Kofukuji’s reconstruction should be completed in 2018, with 5 more years of work around the temple.

Grouping a moss garden, a pond garden and a tea ceremony garden, and named after the Yoshikigawa River running beside, Yoshikien is Japanese garden located in central Nara. It is a beautiful place to embrace the zen attitude and discover three variations of japanese gardens, in one place.

I hope you enjoyed to learn more and visit Nara, it’s a must see if you plan to travel to Japan.
Many impressive and beautiful temples and shrines, to explore and take pictures of :)
A special note to the deers who reminded me that I don`t always have to wake up at 4am and camouflage myself to get photos of them ^^

This is part 3 from my trip to Japan, and part 4 will be dedicated to Kyoto!
I would like to say hello and thank my friend Misa, who I unfortunately could not see this time, for her advices on Nara and Kyoto :)

Travel To Japan, Part 1 Tokyo
Travel To Japan, Part 2 Kamakura

Take care, and take pictures!

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