Historic Nara

Nara, a former capital of Japan, sits East of Osaka and is famous for its ancient temples and shrines which collectively form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today is a Japanese public holiday; Vernal Equinox Day – a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things. It seems apt then that I’m wandering around beautiful parklands watching the deer and seeking out the first few signs of the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom.

first_cherry_blossom_nara

five_story_pagoda_nara

There’s so much beauty in Nara, both natural and man-made, that my eyes are darting everywhere, trying to take in every minute detail of the landscapes and architecture. From five-story pagodas to grand buildings to ornate gates and bells and shrines. Every angle looks awe inspiring and I’m taking far too many photos.

buddha_hall_nara

bell_nara

kids_gong_nara

The big Buddha is magnificent and I watch as people light incense sticks and place them gently in a sand-filled bowl at the entrance. Some pray, and some just breathe the perfumed air deeply into their lungs.

big_buddha_nara

incense_burning_nara_japan

If you stray down side streets and off the main route there’s a stillness and tranquility to Nara that I like. It’s that special time of year now… we’re emerging from the cold Winter but it’s not quite Spring yet… there’s a feeling of anticipation and hope in the air. I watch the deer sitting quietly – a contrast to the ones in the busy areas that chase people and whip up into a frenzy when someone gets a packet of biscuits out.

deer_following_man_nara

deer_nara_park

The Japanese gardens are landscaped perfectly but I feel I’m a couple of weeks too early to fully appreciate them. Soon they’ll explode with colour and really show off their full potential.

japanese_garden_nara

japanese_garden_nara2

japanese_garden_nara4

japanese_garden_nara3

I feel a few spots of rain so start to head back, stopping to buy a pork bun (a new addiction of mine). When I emerge from the Subway station in Osaka it’s torrential rain and I run back to the hostel thinking of that episode of Mythbusters where they tested which makes you wetter – running or walking in rain? I can never remember the result of their experiments though. I got soaked.

 

You May Also Like These...

Mongolia Day 2 – Kharokorum and Hiking We said our thank yous and goodbyes to our host family and set off towards Kharakorum, the ancient capital city founded by Chinggis Khan’s descendents...
The Great Wall of China As we approached the Great Wall of China by bus I was excited to see the mountains come into view and the bricks of the wall snaking across the ridge ...
Big Buddha and the Bay, HK As I write this I'm looking out over the bay towards Hong Kong Island, watching fishermen trying to catch dinner from the murky waters. The sun has se...

One thought on “Historic Nara

Comments are closed.