We walked along the path to the one of the oldest gates in Japan. It was tall and made of faded wood. On the steps of the gate a deer stood defiantly as if it dare us to enter.
Inside the walls of the gate were huge wooden guardians on either side of the entryway, casting a watchful eye over all who passed through.
We headed down the steps and were confronted by a wall. Peeking through the slats of the gates, we could see a beautiful ordered green garden leading to an enormous white temple with dark wooden embellishments and golden horns on the roof.
On the other side of the gate was the largest incense holder I had ever seen where people were burning and praying.
We walked around the walls to the side entry gate, paid our fee and entered the garden.
Walking into the temple through the front entrance, I was immediately struck still in awe. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting it, or perhaps because it appeared to be trapped in a building that could barely contain its greatness, I was stumped by the largest Buddha I had ever seen in in my life. It was so overwhelming that not even photos could show just how big and amazing it was.
The main sitting Great Buddha was flanked by two bodhisattva statues in gold and two more guardians, one on each side; this time in stone.
We moved around the statues in an anti clockwise direction, continually being drawn back to the Great Buddha and it’s awesome size.
There was a model of the temple complex towards the back and a hole in one of the temple pylons that was the same size as one of the Great Buddha’s nostrils. Children were lining up to crawl through the hole which is said to guarantee enlightenment if you can fit.
On the way back out of the temple complex, my daughter wanted to burn some incense. I like to think it was to pay her respects to the greatness that we had just seen, but it was more likely because everyone else was doing it.
We left the temple complex, walked back through the park with the now snoozing deer, their bellies full of biscuits; through the small town and caught the train back to Osaka where we dined on traditional Okonomiyaki pancakes and Asahi; hoping that it wouldn’t be so long before we saw our friends again.
No more sight seeing and temples for us, nothing would have been able to top the Great Buddha at that point anyway, so it was off to Disneyland for a different kind of wonder.
Related posts: Nara, 2016, Castle and shopping in Osaka, 2016, Osaka, 2016, Onsen in Nantan, 2016, Markets and Manga in Kyoto, 2016, Gion, Kyoto, 2016, Food and Fervour in Kyoto, 2016, Kyoto, 2016, Takeyama, 2016, Samurai and Shidax in Kanazawa, 2016, Seeking Geisha and Gardens in Kanazawa, 2016, Kanazawa, 2016, Tokyo, 2016: Miraikan, Tokyo, 2016: Shinjuku, Tsukiji Market and Yanaka, Tokyo, 2016: Imperial Palace and Shibuya, Tokyo, 2016: Ueno and Harajuku, Japan, 2016