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Nara (Wed., Oct. 10th, 2001)

 Wednesday, October 10th, 2001 (click to see all posts from this day)
 The Yamato Area


Today's page will have a slightly different look. Essentially, I played tourist today (although I did walk 6-8 kilometers in the process). So this log will basically tie together a series of Words-and-Pictures-Features about the places I visited.

I headed into town and had "brunch" at a Mos Burger not far from Nara Kintetsu station.

For you vegetarians: Mos makes a "Kimpira Rice Burger." They use rice patties instead of bread, and the filling is "kimpira," a sort of stir-fried vegetable concoction composed mainly of burdock--which I'm not sure I ever ate before I came to Japan.

Click on the heading to go to the page.

Nara Feature 1: The Nannendo at Kofukuji (MAP)

Although my goal was to pray in front of the Great Buddha at Todaiji, the route took me past one of my favorite little halls. The Nannendo at Kofukuji is number 9 of the Saigoku (Kansai) 33 Temples Sacred to Kannon; I have visited it many times, and it always feels good. The Feature is simply several shots of this one building.

Nara Feature 2: Todaiji (MAP)

Todaiji may not be a household word, but if you say "The Great Buddha of Nara," many will nod their heads knowingly. But there's much more to this temple than just a big Buddha. There are deer, and exquisite statuary, and a building that many think eclipses the Big Guy himself. The Feature is limited to the area around the Buddha hall; in the future, I hope to augment this with my "file shots" of the many other halls at Todaiji, for centuries the "National Cathedral" of Japan.

It's a big page--like the Buddha itself. Please be patient as it loads; I guarantee it's worth it. [2019: ha!]

Nara Feature 3: Saidaiji (MAP)

After Todaiji, I went back to Nara Kintetsu station and hopped a train. Just two stops brought me to Saidaiji. Language note: Sai means "west" and To means "east." dai means "great" and ji means "temple." So in a short train ride I went from the Great East Temple to the Great West Temple.

Modest in comparison to its similarly-named counterpart, Saidaiji gave me more of a quiet buzz than all the hoopla Todaiji can muster. The Feature is brief, but I hope you'll give it a look.

From Saidaiji, I started a walk that I've long wanted to do. I was heading toward Horyuji--though I knew there wasn't enough time to make it all the way, I just wanted to visit some of the Grand Temples of western Nara that I had never seen before.

Nara Feature 4: Kikoji (MAP)

I was pleasantly surprised by a small temple named Kikoji. I had never heard of it, but it was marked on my map, so I popped in. Take a look at the Feature to see a tourism-free, rather disheveled little temple that clearly had a grander past.

Nara Feature 5: The Tomb of Emperor Suinin (MAP)

Wending my way from Kikoji toward the world-famous Toshodaiji, I encountered The Tomb of Emperor Suinin. I have had the pleasure of visiting quite a few of these kofun, or burial mounds. This one is quite representative. The map, by the way, shows about a dozen in the area.

Nara Feature 6: Toshodaiji (MAP)

Toshodaiji is a temple on the grandest scale. Though I've never been here before, it's kind of an old friend. Find out why in the Feature.

Nara Feature 7: Yakushiji (MAP)

I may have to put Yakushiji on my Top Ten list--despite getting off on the wrong foot. Read the Feature to see what happened.

Nara Feature 8: Horyuji (MAP)

From Saidaiji to Yakushiji had been around 3 kilometers or so. I was out of time, so I hopped a bus down to Horyuji, knowing I would be too late to get in. It's tied with Koya-san for my favorite place in Japan, so I just wanted to be there for a few minutes in the "gloaming." I was able to get a few pictures for the Feature.

Wrapping Up

From Horyuji I took a one-hour bus ride to JR Nara Station. After dinner, I caught another bus to the stop nearest my Youth Hostel.

Another strange logbook--no pictures! But believe me, there are plenty in the Features. Tomorrow may be similar, though there will probably be a few wayside shots as I walk the Asuka Road.

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Posted October 6, 2019

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