Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

The Rats of Nara

R and I took a day trip to Nara today. Nara is the original capitol of Japan (before Kyoto) and the home to the earliest Buddhist temples here.

We went to Nara Park, where Todai-ji is located. Todai-ji is an old, old Buddhist temple and is also possibly the largest wooden building in the world. It is even more impressive when you realize that the current temple is only two-thirds the size of the original one.

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The temple contains the Daibutsu statue, shown from one of my photos below.

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Perspective is hard to get here and the room wasn’t broad enough for me to get a good shot to show it but that statue is 45 feet tall and each finder on raised hand is roughly the size of a person. It’s huge.

Nara is also home to the Rats of Nara, otherwise known as the deer. These wander the temple grounds, preying upon unwary travelers in search of crackers. (These are told for 150 yen to suckers who wish to be victims of a deer swarm.) My shirt was repeatedly lipped by a deer and R had one get overly friendly by biting at her thigh in its eagerness to find a tasty cracker.

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Following the visit to the park, we took a train and shuttle ride to visit Horyu-ji. This site was originally built 1400 years ago and is one of the earliest Buddhist sites in Japan.

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I’ve put up a set of today’s photos on Flickr. Tomorrow, we’re planning on going to the monkey park, the Gold Pavilion and a few other Kyoto sites. We have two more days in Kyoto before we go to Koyasan.