DAY 4 (2/6): TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan, 2016.12.06
It was only 10 minutes of train ride from Horyuji Station to Nara JR Station. Our plan was to spend the remaining of the day touring the Nara Park (奈良公園), where wild sika deer (日本鹿) have been roaming freely for over a thousand years. The park is also home to a number of top sights in the city, including Todaiji Temple (東大寺), Kasuga Taisha (春日大社), Kofukuji (興福寺), and Nara National Museum. Despite located a little further from the park than the Kintetsu Nara Station (近鉄奈良駅), the Nara JR Station (奈良駅) is still within walking distance to Nara Park. It took us about half an hour to reach Nandaimon (南大門), the south gate of Todaiji Temple. The 57 x 50m Daibutsuden (大仏殿, Great Buddha Hall) of Todaiji is one of the largest wooden building in the world. Despite its enormous size, the current building is actually 30% smaller than its predecessor at the same site.
It was about 11 when we stepped out of Nara Station. The weather was fine and clear.
Once we entered Nara Park, we could see the warning signage on how to be cautious with the wild deer.
Some deer were quite aggressive, especially when a visitor had food in hand.
There are over 1200 deer in Nara Park. Some researchers suggest the number might have already passed what the grasslands in the park can support.
The route leading to the 12-th century Nandaimon (南大門, South Main Gate) of Todaiji was loaded with tourists, vendors and deer.
We weren’t the only ones standing at Nandaimon looking back at the approaching tourist groups, but also a curious deer.
Made by Busshi Unkei and Kaikei, Agyo is one of the two 8.5m tall wooden Nio (仁王, Guardians of the Buddha) were erect at the Nandaimon since AD 1203.
At around noon time we finally reached Daibutsuden (大仏殿, Great Buddha Hall). Known as the largest wooden structure in the world before the modern times, the present reconstructed building was only about 2/3 the size of the previous version. Since AD 752, the hall had been reconstructed a few times after destruction from earthquake and fires.
We were lucky that it wasn’t the most crowded time in the day to visit the Daibutsuden.
The 15m tall bronze Birushana Buddha is Japan’s largest, depicting Vairocana Buddha (大日如来). Flanking both sides of the Buddha are the two Bodhisattvas. Once inside, we were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the 550 tonne bronze Buddha and the enormous volume of the hall interior.
Even Even the large statue of Komokuten (広目天) was dwarfed by the steep stair and high ceiling.
Looking up to the wooden Komokuten from below truly made us appreciate the enormous scale of the building.
The bronze and gold used for the original 8th century building almost led to financial bankruptcy of the emperor.
The golden halo of the Birushana Buddha is 27m in diameter with 16 images.
Wooden model of one of the previous Daibutsuden building.
Before leaving Daibutsuden, we paid our respect to the bronze Buddha and the golden Bodhisattvas one last time.
The queue of visitor kept on appearing at the entrance.
The wooden Binzuru (Pindola Bharadvaja) statue. Visitors lined up to touch and have photo with the wooden statue.
Once got out of Todaiji, we would need to confront the curious hungry deer again.
Deer, Mirror Lake and Todaiji.
Small deer taking a nap just outside of Todaiji Temple.
Our posts on 2016 Kyoto and Nara:
OUR FIRST KYOTO STORY, Japan
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: RYOANJI TEMPLE (龍安寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NINNAJI TEMPLE (仁和寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KINKAKUJI TEMPLE (金閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE (北野天満宮), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NIGHT AT KIYOMIZU-DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: MORNING STROLL IN SOUTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA to KENNINJI, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: ○△□ and Chouontei Garden and Ceiling of Twin Dragons, KENNINJI TEMPLE (建仁寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: SFERA BUILDING (スフェラ・ビル), SHIRKAWA GION (祇園白川), KAMO RIVER (鴨川) & DOWNTOWN, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: YAKITORI HITOMI (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: MORNING IN NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (北東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: NANZENJI (南禅寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: PHILOSOPHER’S PATH (哲学の道), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: HONENIN (法然院), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: GINKAKUJI (銀閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: CRAB AND SAKE, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 4: HORYUJI (法隆寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KASUGA TAISHA (春日大社), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KOFUKUJI (興福寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: NAKAGAWA MASASHICHI SHOTEN (中川政七商店 遊中川), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: RAMEN & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 1, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 2, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 5: FAREWELL KYOTO, Kyoto, Japan