So, when I first got to Nara, Mr. and Mrs. Saito from my church expressed their interest in hosting me for a few days. So, today, I moved to their house for two nights and three days. They live in Nara city, while my main homestay is in Oji, which is in Nara prefecture. So this makes them much closer to many culturally important sites in Nara than my normal homestay.
Mr. and Mrs. Saito brought me to this restaurant where we get to pick from an array of Japanese food. Their idea was to have some fun and see what foods I could palate, but little did they know that I am already a big fan of Japanese food. Lets just say they were very surprised when I picked up a plate of salmon sashimi. ^.^
Mr. Saito and I went out to see Horyuji which is in fact the oldest temple in Japan.
Here we enter the temple grounds. Its very expansive. The size of a small village really.
Main gate to the courtyard.
In the courtyard itself. We can see the ever popular pagoda here on the left.
Saito-san took my picture for me.
I checked out the Nara National Museum. It houses many many amazing statues and artefacts. If you go to Nara, this is an absolute must see museum. Unfortunately it was closed on the day that my brother and sister were with me. Sigh…
My friend Ayumi-san and me on our way out to see Nara's lantern festival.
Lanterns with Kofukuji's pagoda in the background. Really stunning in person.
Nara deer park in front of Todaiji. Super expansive display. I'd say that this picture includes about 10% of the lanterns that were there.
Food stands on the pedestrian street leading to Todaiji.
Ayumi-san posing with some lanterns in front of the Nara National Museum. I took a picture without flash as well to better capture the lantern light, but then I couldn't see Ayumi-san in the picture, so we go with the flash.
My room at the Saito's place. They actually went out and bought an air conditioning unit for the room just before my stay so that I would be comfortable. The Japanese often go out of their way to accommodate their guests. Really nice people here.
Mr. and Mrs. Saito in front of their house. All they could do is apologize for it “being so small”, but really, its a very very nice house.
Here is one of my first pictures from the bus tour. We first stopped at Horyuji again, but I was glad because we didn't get to see all of it the first time.
The Hall of Dreams at Horyuji. It is built on the grounds of Prince Shotoku's former private palace.
I thought the clouds looked pretty cool today. Ahhhh, but its so sunny… and so hooooot.
Currently I can't remember the name of this place… it was kinda a busy day alright?? I'll look into it……
Now for what I think is one of the best temples in Japan. Yakushiji. Newly repaired so everyone can once again see it in its initial form.
Pagoda. There are actually two on the grounds of this temple. One is relatively untouched, while this one has been renovated.
Detail on the end of the beams.
Yea.. random butterfly. Or… I guess this is a moth. They rest with their wings flat while a butterfly rests with them together huh…. whatever. Haha
Last stop on the tour was Toshodaiji, which was founded by the blind Chinese monk Ganjin in 759 A.D. It also houses a wooden statue of the monk which is only openly shown to the public for a few days a year.
Here is were the statue is kept.