When Dana and I took our trip to Kyoto we debated whether or not we should take a side excursion to Nara; we are so glad we did. It was our most favorite site of all of the places that we saw. It was just beautiful, quaint and well...perfect. So, if you go to Kyoto then don't pass up the opportunity to go to Nara. I highly suggest going on a paid tour as the transportation and narrative provided are well worth the money.
One of the distinguishing traits of Nara are its' live in residents, and I don't mean people. They have herds of deer that live in the city year round. They have been there for centuries. They are so unafraid of people that it is like walking into a storybook.
They are always looking for little treats and snacks.
The temple that we went to had these wonderfully ornate incense burners. They were mesmerizing to watch.
This Buddha was so huge. I don't think any picture could ever do it justice. It was awe-inspiring. It was the size of the temple picture below. The Buddha was sitting down on the floor and the top of his head was at the ceiling. This room was very dark except for the candles burning, so the picture quality is poor.
Not a great picture of the temple, but gives you a bit of a size reference. Look at how small the people are standing at the entrance; this temple was huge!
Also inside the temple were guardian statues that were hundreds of years old. The statues were there to protect from evil spirits.
Outside we found this water cleansing area. You were to fill your little cup with the water an then drink it as well as rinse your hands with it.
Here is Dana playing with another deer. They were so fun!
We then went to another tourist site (sorry, I cannot remember the name) that is known for its' THOUSANDS of stone lamps. It was so incredible. These stone lanterns were HUGE! Apparently, years ago, the lamps would be lit every night. But now, they are only lit 3 evenings a year. I can only imagine how neat it would be to walk through a forest full of these lanterns. Ok, maybe a little spooky but I wouldn't be scared, honest!
A row of lanterns hanging on a beam at the shinto shrine. I love the age, the color and the simplicity of it.