We woke up at 4:30 today…and I have to say, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I must have slept really well because I got up the moment the alarm rang! After we woke up, we had to put our beds away to one side of the room and go down to meet the monks of the temple. We walked across the courtyard to the prayer building where we joined in to chant the sutras at 5:00. At 6:00 we had a breakfast of “rice porridge”, seaweed and umeboshi. Personally, I liked it (but everyone else including the monks don’t particularly like it!) and we all cleaned our bowls and plates using the takowan radish. We came back to our rooms to clean our dormitory. Each of us were assigned specific tasks and it was over before we knew it. We relaxed in our rooms until it was time to visit the different important buildings and temple around Nara!
Our first stop was Heijo Castle, which was destroyed hundreds of years ago. Today, only the emperor’s chair and the foundation of the palace remain. We then passed the temple for the Buddhist nuns and drove to Tou-Dai-Ji, the biggest wooden temple in the world, containing the biggest Buddha statue on the planet! It was absolutely stunning and really humbling too!
In one of the pillars of the temple was a small narrow hole where people small enough could crawl though. It is supposed to give you good luck if you manage to pass to the other side. Only North, Ryouta and I could manage!
As we left the temple, we saw a bunch of deer from Nara park! The deer from the park were thought to be messengers of the kami and so were protected by the government. Today, they are the most tame deer in the world. You can pet them and feed them. They’ve even caught up on the way Japanese bow whenever they want food! (^~^)
When we left the restaurant, we headed towards the last temple for the day, Kitoji (Ki=joy and To=light).