It was a nice tuesday with a temperature in the morning was about 14 C. We took a local JR train at 9:23 am from Obaku Station heading to Uji and there changed to an Express train. At the express train it was difficult to manage Sarah’s baby stroller. Our baby stroller is quite big and even though it is foldable, it still occupies a big space. But yesterday it was quite fine after I adjusted my seat.
The express train was a train from Kyoto to Nara. Even though it was a week day, the train was quite full. We could not find an empty (double) seat. There were also foreigners in the train. As I would guess they all also stopped in Nara.
Nara is the oldest permanent capital of Japan. Before Nara, the capical city of Japan had moved for several times. If the emperor changed, the new capital was established as well. It was in Nara then when the capital of Japan was first started to be permanent. After Nara it was Kyoto. No wonder why, in these two cities, there are so many temples and old heritage buildings remaining up to present. As a result the two cities are among the top tour destinations in Japan.
We live in Uji City, a city, exactly between Nara and Kyoto. Uji City itself is mentioned in Japanese history as one of the old cities in Japan. One of the old bridges in Japan was built in Uji. As well, there is a famous tale of Genji which took place in Uji. In that way we are lucky because we can go to Kyoto and Nara just less in than an hour by train.
This visit was my second visit there. Look at here to find my previous posting about visit to Nara. But this time was special. Elisabeth and Sarah were with me. And this was also Sarah’s furthest traveling so far.
So we arrived at Nara JR Station. The station was still underconstruction that’s why the inside and outside look was not so good. At the exit we found a tourist information counter. Try to come here first to get a good guidance if you want to visit Nara. So she gave us a map of tourist destinations in Nara and guided us to visit three places which all is located at Nara Park (Nara Koen). “You can go to Kofukuji, Todaiji and then Kasuga Shrine”, she said. “And you can also enjoy Nara Park when walking”, she added.
Todaiji is the first and foremost destination if you visit Nara. The largest budha statue in Japan and occupies the largest wooden building in the world. It is located at the Nara Park at the North Side. The second one is Kofukuji Temple. This five storey Pagoda also has a Shinto shrine there. The third place to visit is Kasuga Shrine.
Nara Park is located to the west of Nara JR Station. We went out of the station and crossing the street at the junction at the northwest of the station. You can’t get lost because it is very obvious that many people go to this / same direction. You can imagine how crowd would it be in a weekend or holiday. So passed the Sanjo Dori Street. This long street connects JR Station to Nara Park.
The street is quite nice. It is constructed with paving blocks in the middle for vehicles and nice pedestrian ways on both sides. I remembered the street in Enschede at the Centrum when I was walking there. The shops along the Sanjo Dori street sell many goods for tourist. There was also an attraction about how a rice cake was made.
We first made a first stop to a building like a Shrine. There was a very nice Sakura Tree there. But later on we found out this Shrine is not really a famous tourist site. In fact in the map that we’re given, this Shrine is just written as an old tomb. But the Sakura was really nice and it’s nice place to do “pit stop” and had some bites of foods before continuing our walk.
I was thinking that the walking time would be only 10-15′ as we found out from one website. But it isn’t really true. It took at about 20-30′. Even if you just walk. Maybe it is just a strategy for a promotion so that tourists happy to come. Since we came with Sarah, we could not go quite fast and therefore we took more than half an our to arrive there.
As we’re approaching to Nara Park, the street ascended. We found a big pond and fountain at our right side and the Kofukuzi at the left side. Kofukuzi was a nice place. It is at the west part of Nara park. The high five and large storey pagoda maybe stands about more than 50m height. Many people were there. We stopped there for half an hour.
Todaiji, the second destination, is still a half way. We went further to the west and then to the North. We should cross inside Nara Park before reaching Todaiji. The park was very large. The landscape is wide and plain. Many deers were also in the park, enjoying the grass and waiting for the touristst sharing some food.
A funny thing we found, there are many food stalls where they sold food for deer. It’s like a cracker with brown color. Don’t try to eat it because it’s food for deer, and probably not for people.
Before we arrived at Todaiji we should pass Nandaimon Gate. It’s a very large gate made of a wooden construction. At the each side of the gate there is a wooden guardion with face like demonds.
The admission to get into Todaiji costs 500 Yen per person. It looks very amazing, very spacious and strong. It is said it was first built on year 743. Imagine how old it is. From outside it looks like a big hall. We took a couple of shots from afar.
The very high and big budha statue sits inside the building. The ticket I bought has information about it. The frontage is 57.01 m, depth 50.48m and height 48.74. So big, right?
There are is a similar Budha Statue there, just on the right side of the big budha. What makes a bit different that the main Budha Statue raises his right hand while the other one raises the left hand. What’s the meaning, I am not sure.
Then at nearly 2:00 pm we went out. We took some “bento” from and enjoyed our lunch at Nara Park. Many deers came over to us as if asking: “Hey dude, please share some food”. “We haven’t had lunch either”. 🙂 So I took some pieces of bread and shared to the closest deer.
The time was nearly 3:00 pm when we finished eating. We felt exhausted after walking out for long therefore we decided not to visit the third place. We went back directly to the train station slowly. It was a very nice trip. Try it guys!