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Nara.

Former capital of Japan. Visited in 2008.

sunny

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Stone Lanterns.

We went to Nara on a day trip from Kobe. First, we had to take the fast train to Kyoto which took only thirty minutes. From Kyoto to Nara was by a much slower local train. At Nara we wandered off to the central Nara Park area. It was beautiful with cherry blossoms, tame wild deer, temples and shrines. We only looked at the sights in Central Nara; we did not have time to explore further afield. However, these sights were wonderful. We visited Todaiji Temple with its huge Buddah statue; Kasuga Taisha with its wonderful lanterns and Kofukuji Temple with its tiered pagoda.

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Temples and Blossoms, Nara.

Japan's first capital was established in Nara, then known as Heijo, in 710. However, as Nara's Buddhist monasteries became so powerful, they were seen as a threat to the government and the capital was later moved to Nagaoka in 784.

Many of Nara's sights such as: Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofukuji Temple and the Nara National Museum are located in Nara Park. This park dates from 1880. Nara Park is filled with hundreds of freely roaming deer. In the Shinto religion deer are believed to be messengers of the gods. Deer have come to be the symbol of Nara.

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Nara Park.

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Nara Park.

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Tame Deer.

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Nara Park.

Todaiji Temple means Great Eastern Temple. It was constructed in 752. It became the head temple of all the Buddhist temples of Japan and later grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in an attempt to reduce Todaiji's power and influence. Todaiji's main hall is the world's largest wooden building. It is home to one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha. The statue is a seated Buddah. It is 15m high. There are also several smaller Buddah images in the main hall.

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Todaiji Temple.

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Todaiji Temple.

Kofukuji Temple was once the family temple of the Fujiwara. The Fujiwara were a very powerful family clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was built in 710. Kofukji has a five story pagoda and a three story pagoda. The five story pagoda is 50m high, making it Japan's second tallest pagoda. Kofukuji's pagoda was originally built in 730. It was most recently rebuilt in 1426. The Eastern Golden Hall of the temple has a large wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha. Kofukji also has two Octagonal Halls. These date back over a thousand years. Their present reconstructions were completed in 1789 and 1210 respectively. Kofukuji's main building, the Central Golden Hall, was destroyed in a fire in 1717. Reconstruction of this hall is happening now and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

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Kofukuji Temple.

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Kofukuji Temple.

Kasuga Taisha or Kasuga Shrine is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of Nara. Kasuga Shrine is famous for its lanterns. Hundreds of beautiful bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the shrine's buildings and hundreds of wonderful stone lanterns are located around the outside of the shrine. The lanterns are lit twice a year on Lantern Festivals in early February and mid August. This was a truly stunning building. I especially loved the moss covered stone lanterns that surrounded it and the tame deer that could be found strolling around these.

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Kasuga Shrine.

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Kasuga Shrine.

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Kasuga Shrine.

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Kasuga Shrine.

Posted by irenevt 01:36 Archived in Japan Tagged nara

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Comments

The blossoms make everything rather magic, don't they. It is all so beautiful, almost dreamlike. Lovely.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, yes the blossom is amazing. When it falls down it is as if it is snowing. Really beautiful.

by irenevt

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