Didem Doğan

Nara: the First Capital City

I devoted one of the days I spent in Kyoto to Nara. You can travel to Nara in about 40 minutes, taking a train from Kyoto Station. Just as Kyoto seemed peaceful and quiet compared to Tokyo, even a quieter atmosphere welcomed me in Nara: this small city which has historical importance as the first capitol city is located on the outskirts of a mountain. You can walk to most of the attractions. The park, the deer strolling around and mountain air will do good to you. 

When you exit the station and walk up you will reach the temple of Todai-ji. This is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 8th century which accommodates the biggest bronze Buddha statue in the world. The temple building itself held the world record for the biggest wooden building for a long time and it is also the centre of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. After the first entrance, you pass through a courtyard and arrive at another door: if you buy a ticket here and walk in, you will pass through another courtyard and find yourself at the building which houses the famous Buddha statue. Its right hand is facing you, while its middle finger is sticking out a bit as in a gesture of hailing. Behind it there are 12 smaller Buddha statues placed in a circle.

The historic monuments of ancient Nara are listed as Unesco heritage sites.

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