Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bridge

If anyone knows what bridge this is, please tell me.  I've forgotten completely.  Its pretty, though.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Buddhist Temple & Shinto Shrine

In the same park as the Todai-ji this temple sits demurely on a hill with a Shinto shrine in front of it.  More of that peaceful co-existence of 2 religions.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Cody's Path to Enlightenment is Assured

At the bottom of one of those giant pillars this square hole was cut out.  It is reputedly the same size as the Great Buddah's nostril.  The theory is that if you can squeeze yourself through the Buddah's nostril and into his brain, your path to enlightenment is assured.  Cody, defying all laws of physical matter, went through successfully.  Yay!! 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Giant Pillar

Another indication of how huge this temple is...it had 10 or 12 pillars of this size supporting the roof.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

The Great Buddah

I saw many large structures and statues in Japan - this was the most impressive.  It weighs over 7 tons (according to Lonely Planet) and is made of bronze.  It has also been here for well over 700 years.  In that time it has weathered earthquakes, invasions and typhoons.  More than once the head fell off.  Now imagine trying to put an enormous Buddah head back on an enormous Buddah body inside a structure that seemed to be built around the statue.  Not much room for maneuvering and, up until recently, no machines with which to lift it.  Incredible!



ps. Sorry its so hard to see - it was seriously dark in there. 




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, January 28, 2005

M & C in profile

This is me trying to be artistic.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Todai-ji

The largest wooden structure on earth housing one of the largest bronze Buddahs.  I can't even begin to describe how impressively huge this is.  And, its only 1/3 the size of the original building.  It is truly amazing what people will do in the name of religion.  Of course there were politics involved too, but its comforting to think that such beauty and engineering can be inspired by religion as well as death and destruction. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Tadai Gate

Notice the guy standing next to the pillar - this this is HUGE.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

M & C in front of random gate

My incredibly gracious hosts in front of a Shinto gate in Nara.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Ancient Wisteria

This is an ancient wisteria vine - the thickness of the trunk is a good indication of how old it might be. I'm sure its very beautiful in the spring and fall.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Giant Pagoda in Nara

Notice the guy on the bicycle...this thing was enormous.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Shrine in the Sacred Deer Park @ Nara


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Todai-ji World Heritage Stone

Hosted by Photobucket.com

Many, many deer and many many people

I'm pretty sure the people outnumbered the deer but I'm not positive.  In the background you can see the HUGE gate to the Temple.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

The Deer Followed Me

This one thought he was my special friend and followed me for quite a ways head-butting my hip and rear-end.  In a way it was endearing and in a way it was mildly bruising. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Baby deer


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Moe feeding of deer...

I had way too much fun feeding and talking to these guys....
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Feeding the Deer @ Nara


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Deer @ Nara

This was a baby - too young to trust people yet. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Night Club Entrance

Walking along one of the many long halls of what we would call a mall, we came across this... Its the entrance to a night club - the stairs go down and the ceiling is curved and everything is painted these reds.  It was really quite cool and futuristic. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Ramen Shop

Japanese fast food - the vending machine outside lists the menu and you put in your money, press the button for the food you want and get a ticket from the machine.  Then you go inside, hand the ticket to the man at the counter/kitchen and sit down.  He makes the food while you organize your soy sauce and chopsticks (all of which reside on the counter in front of you).  He never handles any money - of you want more you go back to the vending machine for another ticket.  Extremely efficient and quite yummy!
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Purification @ Kyomizudera

"Mizu" means water...so this is the water temple.  It was built on the side of a hill with a natural spring - thats what feeds this purification area.  Its so beautiful that they actually charged a fee to go through there. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

The Love Shrine @ Kyomizudera

More Kyomizudera - sorry!!  This is part of the Love Shrine.  Lots and lots of teenagers go there to pray for handsome husbands and wonderful wives. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

More Kyoto Market

Looks kind of like corn but I didn't test that theory.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Kyoto market

This market has been around for 300 years - in the same place!  Its huge and offers an amazing array of foods - both cooked and raw.  Most of it looked pretty unappetizing to me but M thought a lot of it looked pretty yummy. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

More Kyomizudera in Kyoto

Another view...
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Kyomizudera (Kyoto Temple)

Sorry to be out of order here...this blog stuff is weird for me.  This is the Kyomizudera (Temple) in Kyoto - very famous, very large and very very beautiful.  That pic of the gorgeous red tree is from this compound.
Hosted by Photobucket.com

For My Mother...


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Restroom door

At the Yaki Niku restaurant - this was on the door to the bathroom and I couldn't resist. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Yaki Niku (M)

You can see the harbor in the background - the evening was beautiful and we had a lot of fun with the grilling. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Yaki Niku Kobe

Yes we ate Kobe Beef in Kobe and it definitely lives up to its reputation.  YUM!  The platter in front of Cody was our dinner for the evening - it included octopus, liver, beef, cabage, zuccini, peppers, sausages and chicken. 




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Yaki Niku in Kobe

This restaurant offered a spectacular view of the harbor and a chance to grill your own meats at the table - Cody was in heaven. 




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Oriental Hotel & Replica of the Nina

C & M in front of a replica of Columbus's ship the Nina.  We couldn't figure out why this is here, but there it is.  Behind the ship (which is surprisingly small) is the Oriental Hotel.  A famous landmark and extremely lavish place to stay.  It sits floating on the very outer rim of the harbor and the lights at night are really cool.  




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Kobe Harbor Earthquake Damage

The city has preserved some of the damage to the harbor from the quake.  As you can see here the entire dock has sunk quite a bit and cracked into several piees.  The lampposts used to be straight.  The city is in the background - its amazing how fast they rebuilt. 
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Damage to Kobe harbor in 1995

This is a photograph that is part of the memorial set up in the harbor.  The earthquake devastated parts of the city and the fires that followed were worse.  Hosted by Photobucket.com

Inside the Kobe Luminarie

The entire street was lined with these overhead.  The music was beautiful - there was an almost sacred atmosphere.




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Kobe Luminarie


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Kobe Luminarie


Hosted by Photobucket.com

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kobe Luminairie

In rememberance of the 1995 Earthquake that devastated Kobe, this Luminarie is erected annually around Christmas time.  It is huge and stunning. 




Hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, December 31, 2004

Fall Colors

Half of the Kiyomizudera complex was covered in these gorgeous trees.


Prayer Plaques Close-Up


Prayer Plaques

At most temples you can buy these plaques and have whatever prayer you want engraved on them by the monks (usually by burning the words into the wood). They write whatever you dictate, in whatever language. Many of the ones in English seemed to be from students praying for good test scores.


The Pagoda

This was impressively huge and very brightly painted. Unfortunately the sun was behind the structure so the photo didn't turn out well.


Kiyomizudera Gate & Me


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Temple building

Its hard to know what to call these buildings and complexes - I don't know the words for them in Japanese and I'm not sure exactly what purpose they serve. This building was the second thing you saw after the Gate. Everything in this complex was beautifully restored and kept up - I think they repainted every year or two because the colors were so bright. Officially that orange is called vermillion I think.


Entrance Gate to Kyomizudera complex

This is the enormous entrance gate (Shinto) to the temple complex. The complex consisted of several buildings, shrines and one huge pagoda plus the temple itself and all the grounds and gardens. Frankly it was huge. I think it also housed a monastary - we saw a monk chanting and holding out an alms bowl.


A street in Kyoto


Masks along the fence

The pagoda had a fence around it and these masks were hanging on the fence. I have no idea what they mean but they were cool.


Close up of Pagoda architecture


Kyoto Neighborhood Pagoda

M and I found this randomly while navigating our way toward the Kyomizudera. It had a fence around it and was locked up, but I took a few photos of it anyway. We have no idea what the name is though for a while we were convinced it was the famous pagoda of Kyoto (the name of which escapes me now) and even now we're not sure it wasn't.