So... to continue on with our Kyoto-Nara trip... though not in any particular order.
If nothing else, my friends and I did a lot of walking this trip... But we used many forms of transportation; bullet trains, regular trains, subways, taxis, street cars. We would step out of a station and walk, walk, walk in whatever direction all the other tourists were walking.
I thought this was great incentive to use the stairways rather than the escalators.
My friends seemed to have a destination in mind, and Kaoru-san is a definite map enthusiast, but I just followed along taking pictures and making a mental note of the places we visited (and now two days later have forgotten why a place was famous...)
Kyoto and Nara has countless (COUNTLESS!) temples and shrines filled with ancient statues and artifacts. I have no idea what the different denominations are nor what is the difference in architecture. There seemed to be many pagodas, but the strikingly beautiful cherry blossoms in the temple and shrine gardens were breathtaking against the historical buildings.
This is Todai Temple, and until recently, the world's largest wooden building. It is really a must to see if visiting Japan. Just standing at the gate all I could say was "Wow!"
You can get an idea of the size of Todai Temple with all the tiny people at the entrance.
We were very fortunate to be able to visit Todai Temple at the peak of the cherry blossom season.
And inside the temple is the world's largest bronze statue. I'm afraid my photos don't do a good job of showing the scale though my camera did manage to catch the image in the very dark hall.
There was an explanation of the size of the statue... His hand is about the size of a 4 1/2 tatami mat bedroom! Ah... Can you spot the man lighting incense at the front altar? That gives you something to compare the Buddha with.
Look how steep that stairway is! And no handrails! Not for tourists though...
The temple is built on wooden pillars and there is a hole in the base of one of them that is supposedly the same size as the Buddha's nostrils... The legend is that if you manage to pass through the hole you will be blessed with enlightenment. I did NOT try this... Too embarrassing to get stuck in a post! We watched a few people try and have to back out... I guess if I want to have enlightenment I'll have to go on a diet first...
A cherry blossom post tomorrow.