l'isle joyeuse

Posts Tagged ‘nara

when we were in japan, we went to 奈良 nara on the second saturday despite being really tired after coming back from a 2-day trip in tokyo. it was only the three of us – vivi, neh and i – because the others had other plans and some of them were busy with last-minute assignments :3

we took the train from りんくうタウン rinku town –> 難波 namba (南海線 nankai line) and then from namba we took the 近鉄線 kintetsu line to 奈良 nara station (no idea how it costs, though, because we bought an unlimited 3-day pass for all private lines in the kansai area : 5000円). upon arrival, we searched for a rent-a-cycle and rented bicycles for 1000円 each. one cute thing about nara : when the traffic lights turn red, the sound that plays for pedestrians to use the zebra crossing is a cute continuous bird-chirping sound.

a mysterious prayer offering outside someone’s house, right beside the electricity meter box. yes that’s a fish head.

nara is a bustling, tourist-attraction area with lots of deers roaming around. no kidding. they’re everywhere. in the gas stations, in front of the train station, chewing on the grass beside the bus stops, poking their noses in people’s butts at the traffic lights for biscuits… that explains the multiple signboards around nara too.

literal translation : look out for deers that suddenly jump/fly out lol 😀

when we went, the cherry blossoms were at full bloom and so, everywhere in nara, all you can see on the trees are an endless expanse of pink! we were very excited because in tajiri-cho, where we lived, the cherry blossoms were white or white with a hint of pink.

the cherry blossoms in full bloom 😀 japan is clean wherever you go (except maybe shibuya/shinjuku at night)

our first stop was 春日大社 kasuga taisha, the head of all kasuga shrines in japan (similar to the fushimi inari taisha in kyoto), which was famous for the really, really old stone lanterns, as seen in the photo above. thank god we rented bicycles… it was really far in the jungle (forest?) and the roads leading into the shrine were filled with gravel and stones D: we would have given up long ago if we were on foot hahah! even on bikes it was a tough journey uphill!

we were lucky to see shrine maidens in a procession to enter the shrine after praying at the altar.

the famous vermillion pillars and lanterns at kasuga taisha shrine.

there were many deers there and according to the legend at kasuga taisha, deers were considered sacred because a long time ago, the gods descended onto the shrine on deers and since then, deers were considered to be sacred messengers of god. after buying some amulets and taking some pictures, we left without entering the main shrine because it costs 500円 and we were hungry so we opted for lunch.

we went back towards town and after cycling for a short while, we turned into nara park to look at the deers, and stumbled upon a traditional shop that looks peaceful and customer-less.

the shop with no name.

月見うどん tsukimi udon. apparently a famous local specialty, the name of this udon comes from the words 月見 tsukimi which means “moon viewing.” the yolk in the raw egg represents the moon 🙂 this bowl of udon costs 700円 ❤ it was not bad but too little for my liking haha.

after lunch we proceeded to walk across the shop towards the gardens to play with the deers (they all stink) and feed them with crackers that were being sold everywhere in nara.

feeding the deers with しかせんべい shika senbei, or deer rice crackers 😀 they were too impatient and started licking my coat and biting me in the butt D:

next stop, 東大寺 todaiji temple. entrance fee was 500円 per person, and we paid without complaint because this was our main objective in going to nara. todaiji temple is the oldest wooden structure in the world and was built during the nara period (710 – 794 AD) at the behest of emperor shomu. according to the ticket that was given upon entrance, the width of the current building in approximately 33% smaller than that of the original structure D: i can’t imagine how big the original thing is…

frontage 57.01m
depth 50.48m
height 48.74m
these are (i presume) the current measurements. it was printed on the ticket that was given to me.

a buddhist monk stood in perfect stillness in the hot afternoon sun on the bridge leading towards todaiji temple.

i love pointing my camera upwards and shooting, it gives a great sense of depth and dimension. this is the view of the roof (?) of the entrance gate from where i was standing.

one of the two statues carved from wood placed at the entrance gates. they were so big i had to retreat all the way to the other side of the gate to take a photo of the whole thing 😀 hiro is smaller than this statue’s nostril hahah. i am about as big as its feet maybe?

the huge pillars supporting the entrance gate was so huge that more than 3 people is needed to hug the whole thing 😀 it was made straight from a whole tree trunk D: those coins were pushed into the pillars by visitors who wanted to make a wish 🙂

likewise, we did the same thing 😀 i couldn’t reach very far up, as expected of my height (or lack of).

the area around todaiji was filled with trees and much greenery 😀 a pleasant sight for sore eyes!

in front of the etrance of todaiji was an antique pot (?) used for praying and for pilgrims to put incense sticks in. okay i just don’t know how to explain this picture but i like it a lot.

the chief object of worship, the vairocana buddha, who is also the central buddha in the kegon sutra. this statue was made from cast bronze and then was plated with gold. here are some amazing facts about this statue 😀

height of body 14.98m
length of head 5.41m
length of eye 1.02m
length of ear 2.54m
heigh of lotus petal 3.05m

a wonderful sight 😀 a deer resting beneath a blossoming cherry blossom tree. i has to approach very very quietly, without any sudden movements, to take this photo hahah. would have gotten closer but then i wouldn’t be able to fit the cherry blossoms into the frame.

after that we left, and saw lots of trinkets and nara-related goods for sale in the shops leading towards todaiji. duplicate swords, deer-related stuff, fake kimonos, biscuits with a picture of todaiji temple imprinted on them… there was no end to it!

i was tempted to buy a deer toy though. they are so cute!

the fattest baby in the world. vanessa said he looks like a human-version of totoro 😀 haha he is so puffed up like a peach… i can’t believe it.

after visiting todaiji, we proceeded to head back towards our bicycles which were parked in the garden outside the temple. but lo and behold. something was wrong… the deers have pushed neh’s bicycle over onto the ground and has EATEN OUR MAPS. this was not funny because we didn’t have any other maps but since we were about to leave anyway, i figure it was alright… but it was great that they didn’t eat my muffler/scarf. we cycled back to the rent-a-cycle and returned the bikes.

on the way back to the station, each of us bought a drink from the ever-present vending machines. i love how the three bottles look together ❤ so cute! mine was the one in the middle, the melon soda.

the train guy on the way back. his voice is amazingly soft, gentle and nice! hahah so there is a real human behind the wonderful announcements on the trains >w< i miss the trains of japan!

total used : 8,400円 (including the 5000円 train pass)
photos taken : 312 shots 😀

so there you go, our wonderful nara trip on a beautiful saturday morning 🙂 my only regret during this trip was that it was HOT AND I WAS WEARING MY STUPID COAT D: i was sweating so much and it was so heavy i was tempted to leave it in the bicycle's basket… but of course thank god i didn't. i don't know what i would have to tell my mother if the deers have eaten my coat D:



slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

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