|Today's page will have
a slightly different look. Essentially, I played tourist today
(although I did walk 6-8 kilometers in the process). So
this log will basically tie together a series of Words and
Pictures features about the places I visited today.
I headed into town and had
"brunch" at a Mos Burger not far from Nara Kintetsu station.
For you vegetarians: Mos makes a "Kimpira
Rice Burger." They use rice patties instead of bread, and the
filling is "kimpira," a sort of stir-fried vegetable
concoction composed mainly of burdock--which I'm not sure I ever ate
before I came to Japan.
Although my goal
was to pray in front of the Great Buddha at Todaiji, the route took me
past one of my favorite little halls. The Nannendo
at Kofukuji is number 9 of the Saigoku (Kansai) 33 Temples Sacred to
Kannon; I have visited it many times, and it always feels good.
The Feature is simply several shots of this one building.
Perhaps not a household word, but if you say "The Great Buddha
of Nara," many will nod their heads knowingly. But there's
much more to this temple than just a big Buddha. There are deer,
and exquisite statuary, and a building that many think eclipses the Big
Guy himself. The Feature is limited to the area around the Buddha
hall; in the future, I hope to augment this with my "file
shots" of the many other halls at Todaiji, for centuries the
"National Cathedral" of Japan.
It's a big page--like the Buddha
itself. Please be patient as it loads; I guarantee it's worth it.
After Todaiji, I
went back to Nara Kintetsu station and hopped a train. Just two
stops brought me to Saidaiji.
Language note: Sai means "west" and To means
"east." dai means "great" and ji
means "temple." So in a short train ride I went from the
Great East Temple to the Great West Temple.
Modest in comparison to its
similarly-named counterpart, Saidaiji gave me more of a quiet buzz than
all the hoopla Todaiji can muster. The Feature is brief, but I
hope you'll give it a look.
From Saidaiji, I
started a walk that I've long wanted to do. I was heading toward
Horyuji--though I knew there wasn't enough time to make it all the way,
I just wanted to visit some of the Grand Temples of western Nara that I
had never seen before.
I was pleasantly surprised by this
small temple, Kikoji.
I had never heard of it, but it was marked on my map, so I popped in.
Take a look at the Feature to see a tourism-free, rather disheveled
little temple that clearly had a grander past.
Wending my way from
Kikoji toward the world-famous Toshodaiji, I encountered The Tomb
of Emperor Suinin.
I have had the pleasure of visiting quite a few of these kofun,
or burial mounds. This one is quite representative. The map,
by the way, shows about a dozen in the area.
is a temple on the grandest
scale. Though I've never been here before, it's kind of an old
friend. Find out why in the Feature.
I may have to
on my Top Ten list--despite
getting off on the wrong foot.
From Saidaiji to
Yakushiji was around 3 kilometers or so. I was out of time, so I
hopped a bus down to Horyuji,
knowing I would be too late to get in. It's tied with Koya-san for
my favorite place in Japan, so I just wanted to be there for a few
minutes in the "gloaming." I was able to get a few
pictures for the Feature.
From Horyuji I took a one-hour bus ride
to JR Nara Station. After dinner, I caught another bus to the stop
nearest my Youth Hostel.
Another strange logbook--no pictures!
But believe me, there are plenty in the features. Tomorrow may be
similar, though there will probably be a few wayside shots as I walk the