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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Himeji

Monday, April 20, 2015

Himeji & Nara, Japan - 2015

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 20/04/2015 10:03:14

When I shared my (somewhat detailed) plans with Ryan, he suggested doing Himeji and Nara in the one day and ending up in Kyoto might be a bit much to achieve. Apparently the castle itself takes 2-3 hours to get through (we scheduled 1) and there was a bit of train travel scattered throughout the day. I started to get a little worried about our chances to fit it all in - but soldiered ahead (walking a tad quicker than normal).

As it turns out our very early start and the gloomy weather in Himeji was a huge help - the lines were pretty short and we whisked around the castle in around 20 minutes. Sure, we weren't gazing outside of every window for 5 minutes like some people were - but we also weren't skipping through without looking at anything. On our way out, it was clear that the early start was the main reason for our success - as huge lines of people were waiting to get in. We counted ourselves lucky and continued on to Nara.

Not Cute
Himeji Castle is one of many castles in Japan - but one of the better looking ones (and the one that most resembles the White Ranger a little bit)

Probably why we got through the castle so quickly, most of the inside was as bare as this picture suggests

There was a pretty nice view from the castle windows

We had timed our stay in Kyoto so that we had the best chance of seeing cherry blossoms - we certainly saw that

The main reason for a stopover in Nara was to see the giant buddha - Daibutsuden, but when researching the place I found a few other places that we would be interested in seeing. There was two old merchant residences (one rich, one super rich) that were great to walk through (imagining life at that time), a couple of gardens in various styles and a heap of friendly deer to aggressively beg for our food. It was a short stay - but we both loved our time in Nara.

Per Simon
Thankfully my daily planner reminded me to not eat the persimmon leaves that envelope the traditional Nara-style sushi - it was most delicious

Tea Time
I could imagine myself sitting having tea while watching the commoners walk down the street, silently (and not-so-silently) judging them

Big Walder
A modest garden, but probably quite a luxury back then...

Little Walder
... as this richer merchant's garden would have been even more of a luxury

Our way towards the giant buddha was met with many deer desperately wanting the deer crackers that street vendors were selling. Why the deer didn't just rob the cracker salesmen - I have no idea.

Pooping Waves
He's no Horsey Sorehoof - but he is quite majestic as far as statues go

My Babies
I have quite the captive audience here (this is moments before they started getting a tad aggressive)

At least this wasn't me (I threw my remaining crackers at her before making my escape)

Pond Scum
A beautiful pond...

... and moss garden close to the giant buddha

The main event of Nara was Daibutsuden or the giant buddha, bigger than the one at Kamakura. Once we entered the massive hall the hugeness of the buddha could not be avoided - just sitting there full of enlightenment (one would assume). The big statue was pretty cool, but the other attractions in that same hall were also pretty neat. There was also a pillar with a small hole at the bottom where children (and ambitious adults) would try to squeeze through (promising good luck of course) and Yakushi Nyorai the buddha of medicine. The internet tells you to rub a part of the buddha statue, then the same part of your body for some healing action. I'm not sure if this treatment will make it onto the PBS - once Pao rubbed her knee (after rubbing Yakushi's) it started hurting.

Yes - the buddha is big and expecting a high five - mah budduh!

Not As Big
This lady has much less of a gut than I and was still struggling through the hole. I politely declined

Spooky Scary
Looking as creepy as this medicine buddha does - how can it not heal you?

Happy we achieved all we had setout for (with a little time to spare as well), we made our way to Kyoto for (what we hoped would be) a well-earned rest.

This is the 16th in the Super Fun Chronological Japan Travel Catalogue series
GET 1 - Nikko, Japan - 2015GET 2 - Ueno (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 3 - Akihabara (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 4 - Ginza (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 5 - Asakusa (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 6 - Shinjuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 7 - Harajuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 8 - Shibuya (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 9 - Odaiba (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 10 - Kawaguchiko (Five Lakes), Japan - 2015GET 11 - Yokohama, Japan - 2015GET 12 - Kamakura, Japan - 2015GET 13 - Osaka, Japan - 2015GET 14 - Kobe, Japan - 2015GET 15 - Hiroshima, Japan - 2015GET 16 - Himeji & Nara, Japan - 2015GET 17 - Kyoto, Japan - 2015GET 18 - Iga, Japan - 2015GET 19 - Nagoya, Japan - 2015GET 20 - Takayama & Gero, Japan - 2015GET 21 - Sakura & Bonus Wrap-up, Japan - 2015

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