I made the pilgrimage to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan that precedes Kyoto. The “capital” in Japan is defined as where the emperor lives. Prior to Kyoto, the capital always moved when the emperor died because it was taboo to rule from the place where the previous ruler died. This tradition extinguished upon the ascendancy of the Kyoto capital.

Nara is just south of Kyoto Prefecture, about an hour or so train ride. It has a nice mellow vibe to it and is full of great visuals. While it was only the capital for 84 years (from 710 to 794), a significant number of impressive temples and shrines were constructed. Many are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The premium attraction in Nara is Todai-ji Temple, famous for the massive Vairocana Buddha statue popularly known as Daibutsu (Great Buddha). founded in the 8th century, The Daibutsuden Hall which houses the statue was burned down twice in fires that broke out as a result of war. The present structure, which was rebuilt in 1709, was scaled down to 2/3rds of the original size. Nevertheless, it is the largest wooden structure on earth. Here it is.


Fantastic woodcarving is presented throughout this hall.Daib8Daib9Daib10Daib11

3 Replies to “Nara”

  1. Gary, I do enjoy your posts and am so happy you are having these experiences! I’m very impressed with your photos and your extensive knowledge of what you’re seeing. Don’t know if you’re up to seeing family in 2017, but I’ve told Dent I would love meeting up with you somewhere. Maybe Nancy and Sam would be interested,too?

    Charlotte John The Charlotte John Company (501) 960-5646



    1. Hi Charlotte,
      It is so very nice to hear from you! Thanks for your encouraging words regarding the blog.

      I think that it would be fantastic to meet up in 2017. My plans are to be in Da Lat, Viet Nam until about April 22 (will be in Bangkok for about a week on a visa run @ Jan 21). Then I am looking into India for six months – but this is dependent upon success with a notoriously difficult visa application from Hanoi. If lucky, I will be spending the time in Mysore, Hampi, Goa and at the Sivananda ashram in Kerala, ending late October. If not India, I will head to Bali for two months, ending late June. After that I have not planned.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s