日本 day4 | time for Nara (奈良市)

December 30
With our last day before New Year’s Eve, we decided to leave the city to head out to Nara.  With most of the friends assembled, we jumped on a couple trains out to Nara (奈良市).  That is, after I got on the wrong line by myself (dumb Americani).

The city of Nara (奈良市) is sprawling with deer, which are a spiritual creature in the city.  (I think some of my colleagues and any locals to the Midwest United States would disagree.)

We first stopped at Kōfuku-ji (興福寺), where we had some lunches that we packed.  We strolled around there, but we knew the main attraction would be Tōdai-ji (東大寺), a World Heritage Site, the largest wooden building in the world, and home for Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 ).  Before entering, I was treated to a true cultural phenomenon — a Japanese couple pushing their dog around in a baby stroller.  Apparently, this is a growing trend.

The Hall was quite impressive and reminded me of many of the grandest open spaces that cultures across the world have dedicated to their revered deities.  Everywhere I have been, ceilings for the most impressive spiritual buildings seem sky-high.

With sunset chasing us, we went up to Nigatsu-dō (二月堂), behind Tōdai-ji (東大寺).
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