On Wednesday February 27th 2002 I visited Nara for the first time since I was there in 1998. I saw a lot of the same stuff and it hadn't changed much since I was last there (or much in the past century I imagine). But it was still chock full of Temples, Shrines, Pagoda's [i.e. the picture on the left there], and lots and lots of super ugly deer with their horns chopped off.

Like Kyoto, Nara (from 710-794) was also once the capital of Japan. And the two cities are also similar in content as far as the religious side of things goes. However, I prefer Nara because it's much quieter and less crowded. And it still has plenty of interesting places to visit as well.

Here I am bonding with some of those
ugly deer I was talking about before.

One of the many shrines within
Nara Park.

Ukimido in Nara Park. A small stage
in the middle of a pond where traditional
Japanese dance is sometimes performed.

A Nou stage at one of the shrines
in Nara. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a
big fan of this kind of dance.

The picture on the left is of Todaji, the most famous temple in Nara. Todaiji was built by Emperor
Shomu [r.724-749] and is the largest wooden structure in the world. It houses the world's largest
Buddha statue. It is the Head Temple of the Kegon Sect of Buddhism.

Within the temple is a pillar with a hole in its base the size of the Buddha's nostril. If anyone is
lucky/foolish enough to crawl through that hole they can recieve some good luck. The picture
on the right is me "getting lucky" after my painful journey through the hole.


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