Ancient Capital and Dangerous Deer: Nara Part 1

This post has a Part 2 and Part 3.

Last time we met James and Audrey in their town Harima-cho. You can read about that here. And so logically, this time they visited us here in Kyoto. We decided to take a relatively short train ride to Nara, the ancient imperial capital before Japan and home to a massive Buddha statue. oh and Audrey also got attacked by a deer, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Quick Facts:
What? Nara was the capital of Japan before Kyoto (710 to 784). Afterwards the capital was Kyoto for a long time (794-1868) followed by the current capital Tokyo. 
Though, fun fact, because Tokyo became the de facto capital and there is no law stating it is the capital there is a view that Kyoto is still the capital even today.
Current population: 373,189 (about 3x the population of Langley, B.C, the same as Laval, Quebec, or half the population of city of Vancouver - not including burnaby, north van. etc.)
Why go?  to see the hundreds of deer, visit ancient structures, and see the world's largest bronze Buddha statue

Morning train ride to Nara
One cold autumn morning we caught a direct traifrom Kyoto to Nara.  The common way to see the main attractions in Nara is to walk a long circular route. So we set off.

Up the stairs to Kōfuku-ji

30 minutes down the road we arrived at our first stop on the route. Some very large and old wooden structures. The place is called Kōfuku-ji and you can click here for wikipedia's history

Generally, a wife had the place established in 669 wishing for the illness of her husband to leave*. Originally the buildings were in present day Kyoto but were taken down and rebuilt a couple times to end up in present day Nara in 710*. As is typical, over the years civil wars and fires burned and damaged the buildings so they have been reconstructed a bunch of times. Though some of the originals were never rebuilt. Now for pictures!
This is the Nan'en-dō (South Octagonal Hall), 1741, is site 9 of a 33 site Buddhist pilgrimage, and is considered an "Important Cultural Property"of Japan. (source)
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
Funnily enough, the guy on the left seemingly intentionally walked up to be included in Audrey's picture lol

These are called Pagodas.
This is the Five-Storied-Pagoda rebuilt last in 1426 and is a National Treasure of Japan. (source)
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
This deer sauntered in and attracted a lot of attention. Notice the sawn off horns.
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
Kailey's face is like that because this guy
had just gone for a swim and smelled
Photo Credit: James & Audrey
This is the Tōkon-dō (East Golden Hall), one of 3 former gold halls. Built in 1425 and is registered as a National Treasure  (source)



Completely Different Post: Japanese is Easy!

Ben and Kailey lived in Japan not too long ago and also visit Kyoto every year.

Ben is developing a Japanese Practice site. It's current main functions are:
1. a Flash Card system that features a leveling system where you must answer correctly and "level up"to gain new cards, receive money and buy new decks - anime decks included!
2. Fill in the Blank system where you can choose to focus on particle practice or verb practice etc.
Japanese Practice Blog is here. Check out the Japanese Practice site here

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