JapanWiki - Kyoto and Nara
Kyoto And Nara Touring
For fans of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto and Nara are the places to visit. These cities are cities in which you will be able to find the Japan of your imaginations.
For most people planning to visit Japan, the image that they have is more often than not images of either Kyoto, Nara or Okinawa. This is because the vast majority of all images that travel agents around the globe use for their brochures are of these 3 places and their attractions. Kyoto attractions being temples and shrines made of wood, beautiful architecture blended perfectly with magnificently landscaped and well tended Japanese gardens. Nara is right next to Kyoto and has just as many temples, shrines and beautifully landscaped gardens and they can both be visited in a single weekend. Kyoto on one day and Nara on the next.
These two cities are the hub of traditional Japanese culture and the stage on which the vast majority of Japan's history was played out and these two cities combined contain seventeen Unesco world heritage sites as well as over 1600 buddhist temples and over 400 shinto shrines.
Take the above information to mind and you can see that Kyoto and Nara are among the most culturally rich cities in the world.
Nara being the smaller of the two cities was Japan's first real capital city. It contains 8 of the seventeen world heritage sites that I mentioned earlier and is a truly rewarding destination on it's own.
The Amazing Todai-ji In Nara
Todai-ji meaning the Great Eastern Temple is one of the most visited attractions in Nara. It is also the home of the Great Buddha. Daibutsu.
It was constructed in 752 and was designed to be the head temple for all of the provincial buddhist temples that were in Japan at the time. The only problem was that Todai-ji temple and it's officials became so powerful that the capital had to be moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 to reduce the amount of influence that Todai-ji officials had on government affairs. They basically became too powerful!
Todai-ji is the home of the world famous Daibutsu (Great Buddha) and is also referred to as the Daibutsu Den. Not only is it the home of the Daibutsu, but Todai-ji is also the largest wooden building on our planet earth. The current structure is the largest wooden building on the planet, but the current structure was built in 1692 and is only two thirds the size of the original building. The Todai-ji of old was massive!
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