Skip to main content

Nara, the Ancient Capital of Japan

As I sleep
Facing the city,
My Buddhas
Stand even in my dreams
On an autumn night.
Aizu Yaichi, Poet, historian, calligrapher 1891-1956

Daibutsu

Nara is chock-full of historical temples, shrines and ruins, a legacy from its early influence as the capital of Japan in the 8th century. Todai-ji is the most visited of these temples. It is the home of the seated Daibutsu (Great Buddha), one of the largest bronze statues in Japan. It measures an impressive 15 meters in height and and fills the Great Hall (Daibutsuden) with its presence. 

Bodhisattva
Two Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) sit on either side of Buddha. 

Todai-ji Temple
The Daibutsuden is the biggest wooden building in the world under one roof though it is much smaller than the original structure which was razed by fire in 1180 during the Genpei Civil War. 

Model of Todai-ji
One of several interesting displays in the Daibutsuden is the model of Todai-ji as it was in the 8th century.

Nio Deity in the Daibutsuden
The Nio deities are the traditional guardians of Buddha. They protect the temple from evil spirits and demons.

Oh deer!
It is a pleasant stroll to Todai-ji through Nara Park where deer roam freely and approach visitors with expectant eyes. They are used to being fed with shika senbei (deer crackers) which can be bought at food stalls nearby. The deer can be aggressive when they smell food so don't eat in front of them.

Nandaimon Gate
The Nandaimon Gate (Great South Gate) marks the entrance to temple grounds. This wooden gate dates to the 12th century and features intricate wooden brackets which support the two-tiered roof. Within the gate is a pair of fierce looking Nio guardians.

Kintetsu Nara Station Mall
The best way to get to Nara from Osaka Namba Station is to take the Kintetsu train because the Kintetsu Nara Station is closest to Nara Park and Todai-ji. The fare is 560 yen each way and the trip takes approximately 40 minutes. There’s also a convenient shopping mall at the station with restaurants, a grocery store and souvenir shops. 

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


Popular posts from this blog

Adare, Ireland's Prettiest Village

Thatched-roof cottages
Twenty minutes south of Limerick City on the River Maigue is Ireland's prettiest village, Adare. It's a small town, pleasantly quiet even in mid July, at the height of the tourist season. There was a celebrity classic golf tournament going on at the exclusive Adare Manor Golf Course during my visit. But thankfully, this did not bring in the crowds.

Augustinian Priory
It's an easy stroll from the Augustinian Priory to Bill Chawke's Lounge Bar on the opposite end of town.  Centuries old thatched roof cottages, medieval monasteries, vine covered townhouses, the Adare Town Park and the quintessential Irish pubs line Main Street. There's no need to rush. All these places invite visitors to linger and savor the moment.

At Bill Chawke's the kegs are full and ready to be served. But before saying your first "sláinte!" (to your health), consider walking the extra mile or so to the ruins of Desmond Castle, north of Adare Manor. It dates bac…

Bargain Shopping in Greenhills, Metro Manila

At Greenhills indoor flea market, you will find santos (religious statues), costume jewelry, authentic South Seas pearls, clothes, shoes, knock off branded handbags, Oriental furnishings, Christmas decorations, paintings, souvenirs and linens. There are stalls upon stalls of goods and you walk down narrow aisles teeming with shoppers who are at this moment doing their Christmas shopping.


I was particulary interested in new costume jewelry trends and there are a variety of stones and glass beads on display. The latest is a headband made of shiny glass beads, a unique party accessory. I was pleased to find wood carvings and paintings at much more reasonable prices than elsewhere in the city, except in Divisoria which I have yet to check out.


Weekends and holidays are the worst times to come though you can shop their night market during the holidays. Crowds notwithstanding, I plan to spend more time shopping for home furnishings at Greenhills after the holidays.

* * *

Photos by Charie

The Lagoons of Ko Olina

Lagoon 1  (open to the public)
There are four inviting lagoons in Ko Olina, on the western shores of Oahu, about 30 minutes from Honolulu International Airport.  If you prefer to be far away from the madding crowd, the Ko Olina resorts are an option. Each resort has its own private lagoon, which, even on the weekends is uncrowded.  While first time visitors flock to Waikiki and locals congregate at Ala Moana Beach, Ko Olina remains off the radar screen except to those who belong to the Marriott Vacation Club. The Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort and Spa and the Ko Olina Beach Club are open to non members.
Lagoon 3
As of this writing, there is construction going on for more units which will surely impact the peace and quiet of this area. For now it is a great place for lazy days on the water, for energizing walks through all four lagoons, for rejuvenating mind and body, for watching the sunset, and for being grateful for yet another beautiful day in paradise.
Secret Lagoon
Among other att…