01.04.2008 - 01.04.2008
With one more day to spend in Osaka before catching the nightbus down to Hiroshima, it was another chance for a day trip. I had heard from people in Kyoto about Nara, which was worth a visit. So I had already decided that I wouldnt have time in Kyoto to make the trip but no doubt from Osaka I would find the time, and I did. SO i took the train for 30minutes to Nara and wen to the tourist information office on arrival. Before even having the chance to open my mouth the lady passed me a map and was circling all the places I should see and the route to take between them.
So with my map I set off on my merry way. First stop was a pair of pagodas, which is always nice to see. And my first deer sighting, which was fairly exciting until i saw that they had their antlers taken off. I can see why, because if you are going to have wild deer wondering around a city you need for them not to be spearing people with their antlers, but still it is sad to see, as they try to complete their mating rituals of locking antlers with the other male, but are unable to because they dont have the antlers to do it. It was later in the day that I then saw what they did with the unwanted antlers was to make them into various souveniers such as chopsticks!
From the pagodas i followed the crowd to the main attraction of the giant buddha, the temple of which is a UNESCO world heritage site. This is inspite of it, like every other temple in Japan, having been burnt down, twice. But much of the architecture and statues remain from the time it was first built in 752AD, which was a pretty long time ago. I guess if more temples had remnants from this early in history they too would be on the list of heritage sites.
The temple itself was one of the more attractive that I have seen, suitably large, well it has to be in order to hold such a large buddha.The buddha itself wasnt as large as i was expecting, i mean it was large, but i expected it to be twice the size with the big deal that was made about it. MOre interesting was watching a line of small children try and fit through a small hole in one of the poles holding up the temple. THe theory is that if you can fit through you are enlightened. FOr an adult to try would imply that they are not very enlgihtened, if they even think they would be able to get themselves through such a small hole. Im guessing that when it was made the small japanese people were even smaller! Perhaps the message today is that an adult cannot fit through because no adult can be enlightened, only a child unspoilt by the world can stand a chance of being enlightened. Or maybe im reading too much into it!
Outside the door to the temple is what would have to be the ugliest statue that I have seen in Japan. Binzuru, one of the disciples of Buddha, was a bit of a witch and so apparently if you rub a part of the statue, if you then rub the corresponding part of you own body any ailment from that part of your body will go away. Now unfortunately i couldnt test this because i had no ailment.
I got myself another fortune while I was at this temple, although it was only in Japanese. But i left it wrapped to the bar outside the temple so that even if it was bad, things will still turn out ok.
It was later discovered that on either side of the temple should be stood a pagoda. SO in recognition of this there was now a Sorin stood on one side which is to symbolise the 7 storey pagoda that once stood there.
From here I walked up to a raised temple which gave good views out over Nara, and some relief from the rain, which wasnt really enough to warrent an umbrella, but was annoying none the less.
By this stage of my trip, I have seen far too many temples and shrines. and so as not to bore myself and others with hundred more photos of such things I continued wondering around the area at a leisurely pace, but was not really taking many photos. It was a nice park to wonder around though and there were some more shrines etc to look at. And of course plenty of deer who tried to take my bread from me!
I returned to Osaka and sat around at the hostel for a few hours as my bus was not scheduled until middnight! i left the hostel at 11pm. And realised when i reached the bus stop that I had left my battery charger at the hostel! damn it! luckily that was resolved easily because i was staying with the same chain of hostel in hiroshima so they sent it to me there, and it only cost 640yen, cheaper than buying anew one.
I was catching the bust from outside the central osaka post office. I arrived there at 1130 and foud it still to be open! which struck me as very strange, but i guess very convenient for any urges to send parcels at 1130 at night!
I got on the bus, which was not as comfortable as the previous bus had been. I was sitting next to a woman who was larger than the average japanese woman, and she wasnt very accomodating , taking over a portion of my chair. and the bus seemed to stop a lot more than last time. LUckily, i upgraded to the stylish bus from hirishima to tokyo, which is a 12hour journey so i should be suitably comfortable with this trip, fingers crossed.