Back From JAPAN! - Part 4 [Nara]

Day 5 of my trip is the holiest of them all, because I visited a lot of Shrines and Temples. Hahaha...
Here's a little trivia about Nara: Before it became present day Nara, it was known as Yamato no Kuni (大和国). It's named after the Yamato people, dominant native ethnic group of Japan. It is also the prefecture with the most World Heritage Listing than other prefectures.

The day started with a simple breakfast at Osaka station.

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Spinach and egg toast! The egg yolk was oozing with awesome!

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And then it's to Tsuruhashi to take the Kintetsu Nara line down to Nara.

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Upon reaching Nara station, deer mascots and deer related items are everywhere. They even have deer dorayaki. Of course it's just deer shaped. wwww

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Nara Park is not far from the Station, just a few minutes walks.

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How do you know you're on the right track? Deers everywhere. wwww
They had to remove the horns of the male deers to prevent them from fighting and hurting each other.

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A female deer was right outside the gate, and the ranger was telling us on what not to feed the deers if we were unable to get any deer biscuits for them.

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There's a temple near the park, and I went to visit it before heading towards Toudaiji.
Turns out that it's Horyuji Temple, the world's oldest surviving wooden structures. Horyuji Temple is also World Heritage Site!
The Gojyu no To (Five Storied Pagoda) is a sight to see in person. ( ゚ω゚)σ

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Another area of Horyuji Temple, where people can offer prayers.

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I took a rickshaw up to the area where Toudaiji Temple is, because it's quite a distance. My rickshaw puller's name is Tomohiro, but he told me to call him Tomo-chan.
He's a really nice and friendly guy, and was the one who told me more about Nara history while pulling me around. My rickshaw's name is Hotaru, which means Firefly.
( ゚ω゚)σ

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This is the house of the governor of Nara. Looks so zen.

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Tomo-chan explained to me that in the past, people set this mountain on fire every year to drive away the Oni (demons). As the years go by, the mountain has become bare and barren. He then added "Now you can see, no more Oni!" `,、('∀`) '`,、

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Himurojinja Shrine, the Shrine of the Ice God. There's only one such Shrine in Japan, and it's in Nara. Tomo-chan explained that because once upon a time, the Emperor who longs to have good harvest and good food but they always ended up frozen. So he prays to the Ice God to please stop freezing the crops and food. Every year, the people prepares a pole of ice which is packed with carp and breams to offer to the God.
I don't understand why they would offer frozen food to the Ice God when they were hoping that their food don't get frozen. ┐(´ー`)┌

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The ricksaw ride ended near the Nara National Museum, which is walking distance to Toudaiji Temple. I went in to learn more about Nara, and they have a lot (I emphasize A LOT) of Buddhist artifacts collected all over Nara to preserve and display in the museum! Most of them are wood sculptures, and I'm really impressed on how they preserved them so well! (; ・`д・´)

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MORE DEERS ROAMING AROUND THE STREETS!!!! I had a simple udon lunch before buying a pack of deer biscuits to feed the deers.

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Awww~ Look at that cutie chomping the entire biscuit from my hand. wwww
You'd think that's fine, right? Oh no, you're wrong. They are really smart. The moment one deer spotted you, they will follow you. And this deer here caught the attention of the other deers and they surrounded me and nudged me and bit my jacket for attention that I had to run into the shop again to hide for a while. BUT... They waited outside. (; ・´д・`)

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And so, this happened. I was pushed back to the wall and the lady owner of the shop came out to rescue me by shooing the deers away with a broom!!! She told me to throw the last few biscuits far away to distract them, and I did. That's how they dispersed. wwww

Onwards to Toudaiji Temple! ( ゚ω゚)σ

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The long outer garden of the temple, and there's a baby deer along the way! The horns were just starting to grow. Awww~~ (*´ω`*)

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There's a floating Toori Gate near the entrance of Toudaiji Temple.

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The structure itself is really huge, mainly because of the gigantic Buddha statue housed inside the temple. But seriously, you need to see it in person to be awed by it's size. As shown in the photo, the door itself is so huge as you can see from the man standing next to it.

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2 of the Shitennou (四天王) at the door. Yes, huge.

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The Buddha himself. Just look at that size!

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The back of the Bhuddha. Such details!

Yamashita-san told me to try and go through the hole in the pillar. As beliefs goes, that hole represents the nostril of the Buddha. If you manage to go through it, you will receive enlightenment. It's really, REALLY a tight hole in the pillar!! But I took up the challenge.

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Yes, that's me. And yes, I managed to get through. ( ゚ω゚)σ

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After that, I made my way up to Kasuga Shrine. These big Toori Gates are everywhere to pass through because there's a lot of Shrines all over the mountain.

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A very cute poster to tell visitors to be careful of the deers. wwww

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Along the way, I passed by the mountain that Tomo-chan said was burnt every year to drive the demons away. This is how it looks like up close.

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Like the Meiji Shrine, Kasuga Shrine also have a wall of sake. Except this is a smaller wall.

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These were at the entrance of the Shrine.

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A very beautiful Temizuya.

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The Shrine is big, and very beautiful. I find Kasuga Shrine more zen than Meiji Shrine.

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The wedding ceremony area in the Shrine.

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A Miko tending the Omamori booth.

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Cute little deers holding the Omikuji. They have both Japanese and English ones. (´ ∇`)ノ

Along the way out to make my way down the mountain, I came across this interesting thing.

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Yamashita-san explained to me that this is for females to pray for good health. White is for the upper part of the body, and it most often relates to the breasts. Red is for bottom, which often relates to fertility. I find this very unique.

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And this here is to pray for longevity.

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Grabbing a matcha ice cream before heading down the mountain~ (´ ∇`)ノ

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I took the bus back into the city because it's really very far up the mountain. (`-´;)
(Oh look, someone fell asleep in the bus. wwww)

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Back into the city, and decided to walk around the area I passed by while heading over to Nara Park earlier in the day.

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There's a very nice display showing the festivals celebrated in Japan in all of the months of the year.

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Finally decided to have okonomiyaki for dinner, and settled in this cosy family shop.

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The nice and friendly lady boss cooking the okonomiyaki right in front of me. She even gave me this orange juice for free! (*´ω`*)

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After the okonomiyaki is done, the sauces placed on the table is free to use all you want. I used the mayonnaise and wrote なら♥ (Nara Love), but the mayo didn't really co-operate with me so it came out a bit weird. (☍ω⁰ )

After that, I made my way back to Osaka. That wraps up my one day (holy) adventure in Nara. I'd love to come back to Nara Park again for the deers, hopefully in Spring!

Next would be my day trip in Kyoto. それじゃ!(。☉౪ ⊙。)ノシ

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三日月 茜 (Mikazuki Akane)

Author:三日月 茜 (Mikazuki Akane)
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