Published: July 21st 2012July 20th 2012
Took the train on two journeys out of Kyoto, first to Nara which is a modern city with an old part full of historic temples. We decided to focus on just a few, started by with Huyuji where there’s a significant temple with the oldest 5 story pagoda and is home to many important Buddhist treasures, many from the 9th
century. It was a good choice, very old buildings and well displayed museum, although not much in English. Then visited Toda ji, the temple with the great Buddha, the whole building is an impressive size, the largest wooden building in the world and the Buddha is also one of the largest bronze fiures inte world, old as well, again a good choice. Walked around the outside of a number of other temples; including one with lots of hanging lamps and good views over the town and one that had hundreds of stone lanterns in the grounds. Much of this is around Nara park with all its wild deer, they’re revered as messengers from the gods.
The journey to Himeji was exciting as it was our first trip on a bullet train, inside you have no sense of the speed but when
you look outside the houses pass by super quickly. We knew before we went that the main keep was being renovated and covered over with protective covering. It’s known as the most beautiful and well preserved castle in Japan, a big pity we didn’t see it as it in its full splendour. As a special treat for visiting during restoration you can go and see what they’re doing. It was interesting to see how they made the plaster walls and the dealt with the huge tiled roofs. IT was still a beautiful place even though the most impressive part was under wraps.