Kyoto, Nara, and Deer...Oh my!

6/26/10

We had a packed day of touristy-shriney-templey-loveliness today! We started in Kyoto and visited the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and then the Nijo Castle (both World Heritage Sites). We then had lunch and shopping at the Kyoto Handicraft Center. The shopping was fun but shopping on a budget (a time budget that is) sucks! We each got a pearl necklace (perverted blog readers keep your dirty "pearl necklace" comments to yourself thank you very much!)...pearls are very popular here in Japan!

We boarded the bus and then headed to Nara (once the capital city in Japan, in approximately 700). In Nara we visited the Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine, both conveniently locate in Nara Park. Both of these sites are registered as World Heritage Sites as well. Todaiji Temple holds one of Japan's most well known temples enshrining a gigantic bronze Buddha. According to my entrance ticket, The Vairocana Buddha (Buddha of the Sun) is 159.89 ft high, 165.61 ft deep, and has 187.03 ft of frontage. Here are some more fun facts/measurements about this Great Buddha that you may or may not find interesting...
Height of his body: 48.91 ft
Length of his head: 17.75 ft
Length of his eye: 3.34 ft
Length of his ear: 8.33 ft
Height of a Lotus petal: 10 ft
Now I'm sure you're all thinking, wow, how amazing, the history, yadda yadda yadda. Yeah I get your point, but let me tell you, the temples, shrines, Buddhas, were not my favorite part of today's trip. Nara Park has approximately 1200 wild (but tame) deers (I know you're not supposed to call them deers but I started doing it because I knew it was incorrect and would irritate my dad, and I just can't seem to stop...typical kid). These are believed to be sacred deers so they are protected by a special society (I think our guide called it the Society for the Protection of the Deer, which made me laugh!). They are said to be descendants of the white deer (which was a very very important deer, so important that I forgot the damn story! It's something Imperial and within the history of Japan but specifically Nara) Back to the important element of the day, the deers. You can touch the deers! They come right up to you and let you pet them. I'll back up, they sell a package of deer treats (rice based) for 150Yen at the park. The deer actually bow for the treats (our guide told us it was because they are Japanese deer, and are polite...I beg to differ about their manners, but I'll write about that in a minute)




Before we arrived at the park I was so excited to see the deer. I had no idea how many there would be or how friendly they would actually be. I thought that maybe by chance I would see one or two. There were swarms of these holy sacred deer, and they are aggressive when you get that treat bundle in your sweaty little hands. I liked the deers a lot better when I was treat-less. After purchasing the treats, the Japanese manners disappeared. I was swarmed by aggressive deers, biting at my pants and shirt (granted they don't have sharp teeth so it doesn't hurt, but when you have 5-10 deer attacking you it's a little overwhelming...I don't know about you, but this isn't an every day thing for me!)


This picture was before the deers went wild and tried to kill me. I literally had bite marks on my shirt and pants (not from them breaking the material, from their slobber). After the "attack" I was convinced that I had deer fleas and deer AIDS. If I should keel over, please alert the coroner to my recent deer attack!

I do feel much more holy and on the path to righteousness after this trip...not because of the 230498203984 shrines and temples (I finally figured out that Buddhists are temples and Shinto are shrines)...no no, it's because I was nice to the deers, I loved the deers, I fed the deers, and I didn't dropkick the deers when they attacked and bit me! I am a lover of nature and the wild after all

When we got back to Kyoto, mom and I did some more shopping and then headed to our local convenience store and grocery store to grab the makings of dinner. We found the ultimate of wonderfulness...wine in a juicebox!

Mom modeling the wine in a Juicebox and Triangle (she loves these things as much as me!)

Tomorrow is a busy day, we head out of Kyoto and back on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima for a couple of days! I will keep everyone posted!

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