Okinawa Sunrise

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Nara is one of the oldes cities in Japan. In 710, it became the first permanent Japanese capital city (although it only held that honor for about 75 years). About an hour outside of Kyoto, the city is an historical and cultural center that houses many temples, shrines and deer! Yes the deer are not just "free-roaming" as the guides would have you believe. They are free-feeding, free-nipping and free-fighting! Many people make the questionable decision of buying "deer cookies" which, if they do not send the deer into a gluttonous frezy right by the stall, send them chasing after the unfortuante, soft-hearted (headed?) tourist in packs of half a dozen. If you survive the walk up to the Todaji Temple guarded by these doe-eyed beasties, you will be visiting the world's largest wooden structure housing the world's largest bronze Budda. Unsurprisingly, the structure has been destroyed many times in it's history by fire. Fires which also melted the Budda himself on occasion! The building used to be 3 times it's current size before the last fire but I guess there are only so many times you can rebuild before the bill gets out of hand!

We also visited the Kasuga grand shrine. It is surrounded by over 3000 stone lanterns covered in beautiful moss leading up to several spots for prayers including a shrine for academic success....Rebecca paid her respects :) I was not allowed to photography that however....lest I compromise the solemnity of the moment!

We were also fortunate to meet up in Nara with friends of mine from Okinawa. Kyle and Tali were on their way out of Japan for good and they and daughter Aubrie were a lovely addition to our tour. Especially watching Aubrie with the Deer!


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