Japan had always intrigued me ever since I was a child. As a child I used to believe Japan was the edge of the world, the weather there was extreme because of the winds from outside Earth blowing inland and monsters frequently showing up on the coast every now and then.
But as I grew up, I realized Japan was one of the strongest nations in the world, to have not only recovered after the destruction of the Second World War but also become one of the leading nations of the world in a very short period of time.
I found Japan to be a country with a rich history and a commendable present. Although I didn’t get much time to discover the place in detail, as I was on an official trip to Japan, my company decided to give me a spare day as a bonus stay so I could see the country and have a roll. As soon as I discovered I had forty-eight hours to look around the place, I quickly opened my laptop and started searching for places to visit in Japan.
The search results were loaded with recommended places, with lots of tourists sharing their views about the amazing country. I was having serious difficulty in selecting the destination to start with. But since I came from a metropolitan myself, I wasn’t much interested in visiting another metro. I wanted a quieter place, that was rich in Japanese history and culture, and voila I found my spot, Nara.
Nara is one of the most beautiful cities in Japan. Peaceful, full of cultural heritage and temples, all add to the scenic beauty of Nara. The city is not directly accessible via air, so I took the train to Nara, as I also wanted to enjoy the journey.
The journey was simply amazing; the greenery on the way was breathtaking. The flora was rich and colorful; the trees were of all shades ranging from Green to Orange to Magenta. There wasn’t a moment on the way when I stopped clicking images of the beautiful landscape that surrounded me.
My first stop was the famous Tōdai-ji temple. It is one of the seven famous temples in the city. Tōdai-ji was a beautiful sight to watch, especially because of the history associated with it. Tōdai-ji houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue called “The Great Buddha.” It was a sight to watch, the towering monument of the great man, all made from Bronze. And not only this, the huge central temple building is made entirely of wood.
The area around the temple which is also considered a part of the temple is huge, with sporadic buildings spread over a large area, filled in with lush gardens in between. The Tōdai-ji has a very unique history as it was built to appease the troubled spirit of prince Motoi, but later on, gained importance due to various reasons that could be read on the historical scriptures and murals constructed all along the temple.
I spent my time roaming about the precincts, the lakes, and gardens of the temple. They had a very special effect upon me, and I felt myself eluding into the mystical environment of the temple. It was so soothing that for a few minutes I kept my camera aside, and started meditating myself. And I felt peace like I had never before all my life; it was like a spiritual therapy, that place had something which made me feel relieved.
Next up was the climb for the belfry, it is the temple bell that is situated atop a hill, which has been made accessible for the tourists by making stairs. One thing that truly inspired me was the level of up-keep the authorities had managed. Repairs had been made to certain spots, but due to the apt actions of the authorities, the temple was in good shape.
Another interesting fact about the place was the presence of Deer. In Shinto religion, the deer are considered to be messengers of God and hence are left to roam freely around in the national parks. It’s a wonderful sight to watch, deer running around the place with no fear of being hurt or hunted. The deer really enjoy freedom in the area and often get interested in snacks you have taken for yourselves. I had to stop a deer many times who was trying to chew off my sandwich in my bag.
Once I had absorbed the place entirely, I decided to return. I was shocked to see how much time I had spent at the Tōdai-ji and I had to change my plan of visiting other temples on that trip. But still, I had taken a lot in from the visit, had enjoyed myself and made full use of the free-day I had got. But it was time to return now. My interest in Japan was only increased after this brief peek into the wonderful country of Japan.