Took me more than 5 years to come back to Nara. I couldn’t really take enough time to walk around Nara park, and finally I can check that out of the bucket list. Played with deers, revisited Todaiji (I was young and inexpert writer) and wandered through the whole park, visiting the other shrines and temples in what it’s one of the largest traditional buildings concentration in Japan.
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Located in the center of the city of Nara, it takes a 20 minute walk from JR Nara station and Kintetsu Nara station is only a few steps from the park. Tourists wander around the park, as same goes for the deer, freely camping. Is possible to buy senbei cookies for the deer, but be careful as they go crazy for the food, or anything they can get into their mouths. Deers chew on anything you carry, like backpacks, bags, and even passports.
The main tourist spot and the first stop in Nara park. “The Great Eastern Temple” was the main Buddhist temple of Japan, and one of the most powerful of the 8th century. Before arriving to the main hall, pass under Nandaimon gate, another wooden structure. The main hall, named Daibutsuden, is the world’s largest building made of wood. The original was even bigger. The Buddha main hall contains a bronze representation of Buddha, about 15 meters tall, and accompanied by two smaller Bodhisattvas statues. At the new Todaiji museum, numerous exhibitions of art and religion can be a perfect way to get deeper knowledge.
The pillar of enlightenment
Squeeze through this wooden pillar inside the main hall to reach an enlightenment state and wisdom. I did it six years before, and hadn’t stop learning and studying up until now. Another fact I learned that day is that I’m more fit and healthy than I was six years ago. There’s a trick to pass through, but I can say it here, as one has to discover the truth by its own wisdom.
Back to Nara park
After Todaiji, and right next to it, follow the smaller paths uphill to track the rest of the shrines. Here at Nara park, is possible to find constructions and representations of both buddhism and shintoism, the two main religions in Japan. Guardians in every shrine and temple, bells, stone lanterns, and so on, surrounded by the park and the forest. Keep tracking the paths into the forest to discover a tea house next to a red bridge and take a rest slurping a shaved ice cup (in summer) to recover some energy and take a deep breath of nature and history.