Thundering Todaiji

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Monday, April 3, 2006

With one day left on my pass I spent the day in Nara, Japan's first capital, even if it's fame was short lived to be replaced soon after by Kyoto.

There is no Shinkansen line to Nara so it was back on the regular trains again which really did feel slow after the previous week's warp speed journeying.

Nara being a much smaller place than Kyoto meant it was easy to get around on foot with all the main attractions just a short distance between them. Being eyed up by yet more deer everywhere I wandered towards Nara's star attraction, Todaiji.

The Todaiji building itself is the largest wooden building in the world and is still only 2/3rds of it's original size after it was re-built (when will they learn to stop building everything out of wood over here given their fire safety track record).

I was not originally intending on entering the hall itself, after feeling a little templed out from the past few days, but on arriving a large thunderstorm decided to deposit it's contents overhead so following everyone else I stumped up the cash and dashed for drier ground.

The thunder was pretty atmospheric when it first started while staring up at two imposing life-like guardian statues at the gateway to the hall with the rain battering down on the old wooden building I just hoped that it had a good layer of Ronseal on it.

The giant Buddha which is seated Inside was certainly impressive and I was glad that the weather had forced me inside where I found plenty of others trying to force themselves through a small hole in one of the pillars. Apparently if you can squeeze through you will be gifted with wisdom and good luck but I decided not to even try as I think it would have used up any luck it gave me just to fit through although their were apparently many wisdom instilled kids about.

After walking back past some thoroughly soaked and miserable looking deer I took the train back to Osaka and met up with a few others who were just about to step out for some food. Josh an American nurse who was staying at the hotel showed us the delights of what became known as the 'bum market' as at 8:30pm each night all the Bento Boxes became half price so it is always crowded with the local down and outs so we blended in pretty well. For some reason down one of the dark little streets we had to traverse just to get there which was a conservatory full of pigs which may have explained the cheap prices of the bento boxes.
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