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Japan Trip 2016 Update 8

01 July 2016 by

We awaken and take the lift down to another full buffet breakfast with an array of options. Recovery is sweet. Downstairs with backpacks in hand and after a briefing we head for train trips to Nara and Osaka and then home to Kyoto.

Nara had a different feel about it. It seemed more relaxed and the bustle wasn’t apparent. As we walked emerging deer went from curious to imposing in a short period of time and we put that down to vendors selling biscuits for 150 Yen. Purchasing was only for the daring. Despite suggestions to watch someone else feed the deer, some of our students weren’t deterred and couldn’t wait and, despite honourable intentions, were soon swamped and overwhelmed with overzealous deer.

As we ventured further into the park we came across a housing facility for pregnant does. These are housed to ween their fawn in a protected environment. This way they won’t be aggressive towards the many humans visiting the temples and shrines of the area. We saw many and fed some of the 200 deer here.   We continued to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, established in 768AD. Each shrine and temple seems to have something unique about it, the seemingly endless bronze and stone lanterns hanging from the eaves of the various buildings was this one’s.

We continued through the gardens and Nara Park to Todaji Temple. This is the largest wooden building in the world and it houses a bronze Buddha (Birushana butsu) that is a third of its original size – after fires destroyed it twice. Yet its current size is huge, standing at 18 meters. The length of the eye alone is a 102 centimetres.

Lunch beckoned and we spent an hour in a shopping mall in central Nara. Re-energised and rested somewhat we made our way to Nara Station to catch a train to Osaka.

We arrived at Osaka and walked through Umeda, a huge crowded, underground shopping zone on our way to Hep Five giant Ferris wheel. We all went on the Ferris wheel and got an extended view of Osaka – somewhat interrupted with cloud cover and rain. Next we crossed crowded streets to shop and have dinner at Daimaru 14th or 16th floor. Given our early start tomorrow we set off for Kyoto on a crowded train that was standing room only. We arrived in Kyoto at 8.15 needing to pack and rest.

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