Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A trip to Nara

Our hostess at the hotel and her second in command took us to Nara!  She loves the town of Nara, but the Todai-ji Temple is special to her, and she makes many visits during the year to pray.  We felt honored beyond any words that she wanted to share her special place with us.

Nara was the Imperial capital before Kyoto, from 710-794.  The Buddhist temples retained their immense power for years after the capital moved.  In 2010 Nara celebrated its 1,300 anniversary of its ascension as an Imperial capital of Japan.

Due to a fable that had one of the leaders of this sect of Buddhism riding to Japan on a white deer, the deer were proclaimed to be divine creatures.  After WW2 the deer went from being divine to being National Treasures.  The punishment for killing these deer was death!  No one has paid the ultimate price since 1637 and the law no longer stands. Whew!!  Car + deer + snowy roads = dead deer and you, if the law hadn't of changed.
These deer are everywhere!  From the main Nara park and into the Temple grounds and shops before the gates it smells like a farm.  They have a fella drive around a machine that sweeps up their "gifts".   Most of the males have their antlers cut off, but a few still had sizeable racks.  Not sure why some were de-horned and others were allowed to keep theirs.

The deer can be a mite agressive, and having anything to eat will draw them like flies.  This couple was having a terrible time keeping their baby safe from this deer.  I don't know what was the draw for the deer with the baby, but in the end the dad lifted the stroller up and away from the deer, while the wife gently shooed it away.

 Here's Greg cautiously petting one.  I finally did get brave enough to pet one, and they are mighty soft, like the back of a dogs ear.

To alert people to the dangers the deer can cause humans here is a sign that was posted on the Temple grounds.

Rather than rewrite the facts of Daibutsu, I'll just be lazy beans and do a copy paste jobby here.

Dimensions of the Daibutsu

The temple gives the following dimensions for the statue:
  • Height: 14.98 m (49 ft 2 in)
  • Face: 5.33 m (17 ft 6 in)
  • Eyes: 1.02 m (3 ft 4 in)
  • Nose: 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in)
  • Ears: 2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)
The statue's shoulders are 28 meters across and there are 960 six curls atop its head. The Birushana Buddha's golden halo is 27 m (87 ft) in diameter with 16 images each 2.4 m (8 ft) tall.
Recently, using x-rays, a human tooth, along with pearls, mirrors, swords, and jewels were discovered inside of the knee of the Great Buddha; these are believed to be the relics of Emperor Shomu.
The statue weighs 500 tonnes (550 short tons).

It is unbelievably gigantic, but then every thing about this Temple is of the extra large size.   Look at the size of those gates!

The building that houses Daibutsu is big, but with his statue, and several others, the building only seems mammoth from the outside.

There is a hole carved into one of the pillars and its supposed to be good luck to crawl through.  Of course parents love having their children pose here, and it does make for cute photos.

In the Mirror pond in front of Daibutsu's home is this boat,

And here is the story of the boat.


  1. I'm LOVING your posts! So, I just heard that the Deer Hunt in Utah is this weekend - 56,000 hunters. I thought of Greg, of course. :-). Now, I understand it a tad better. How's that for a contrast with Nara?
    Wow - I'm trying to imagine how humungous that Buddha is!

  2. How I would love to pet a deer!!!!!!!