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Sanjusangendo,a walk at Nara and Fushimi Inari

Kyoto Travel Blog

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1001 Kannon statues at Sanjusangendo

We decided to take a look at Sanjusangendo Temple as it was only 10 minutes walk from our guest house, but i we were surprised how beautiful the narrow streets and small canals were in the city . After crossing the river we soon found the entrance to the temple and paid the entrance fee (600 yen). The building was a huge wooden one and was named after the 33 bays (sanjunsan) between the big wooden pillars. The reason to visit the temple was to see the 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist God of Mercy. There is a large statue of Kannon in the middle with 500 life-sized statues each side. Tankei was the sculptor who made the main statue in 1254. The 1000 other statues look as if they are all identical but you can notice that there are small differences. Each Kannon statue has about 40 arms, made from cypress trees and coated in gold leaf.

Deer crackers for our 4 legged friends
In front of the 1000 Kannons stands 28 deities, each with the name and description in English. Unfortunately photography was forbidden and we were hoping for a small scale model or poster that we could take a photo. The photo here is from google. After spending time in the te,ple we explored the beautiful gardens ns saw the Japanese workers carefully pruning the trees.

We then headed tp Kyoto station where we took the train to Nara, 45 minutes away. Outside the station there is a Tourist Information Center which can supply you with a walking map, or you can download one from several websites. Nara is a popular place to visit as it was the original permanent capital of Japan and the town boasts 8 Unesco World Heritage sites.

Todai-ji
From Nara station we headed up the road where there were many souvenir shops and soon we reached Nara Park where 1200 deer roan around. In fact the deer are considerd a national treasure and are protected. Visitors buy deer crackers for 150 yen and have fun feeding the animals, sometimes being followed by the beasts who are anxious to eat the crackers. They have been known to nibble at visitor's clothes or bags so be careful. 

We made our way to Kasuga Taisha Shrine at the top of the hill, while paqssing through the forest. Many smaller shrines were on each side of the path and the area was crowded. At the shrine we were unlucky as there were several Samurai preparing to leave and we just missed the demostration. We then passed by the magnificent Todai-ji, the main attraction in Nara that housed the famous Daibutsu, the great Buddha.

Nandai-mon Gate
Just in front of the temple is the enormous Nandaiman gate flanked by two Nio guardians. Following the path that leads from Todai-ji there are many souvenir shops and stalls selling snacks. My wife enjoyed a plate of noodles whikle i had an ice cream. Aftyer spending several hours at Nara we decided to head back to Kyoto before dark but another famous site was on the route so we stopped at the station by Fushini Inari.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most visited attractions in Japan and consists of a path up the hill that is 4 kms long and passes underneath 10,000 Torii gates which are all painted vermillion. There are endless small shrines as you head up the mountain through the forest. There are actually 5 main shrines along the route and is poosibly the greatest sight in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari was dediacted to the gods of rice and sake by the Hata family nearly 1200 years ago. This was one of the highlights of our trip and you shoulld not miss this if you are visiting Kyoto. After this it was time to return to Kyoto station and make our way back to the guest house.

We were quite shattered after the day's exertions and popped into a 7-Eleven for a take-away meal which are very popular in Japan.  Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Lawsons, Family Mart and supermarkets have shelves lined with pre-cooked meals, and there are 100's to choose from. The shop asistant will heat them up in the nicrowave and they will be reaqdy to eat. Prices range from 250-500 yen and are well wortg buying.

davejo says:
Yes, it is always disappointing when photography is forbidden
Posted on: Oct 08, 2017
planxty says:
This place looks fantastically interesting. Shame about the photography ban but presumably they have their reasons.
Posted on: Oct 08, 2017
davejo says:
It was amazing how the gardeners took care of the trees there.
Posted on: Oct 06, 2017
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1001 Kannon statues at Sanjusangen…
1001 Kannon statues at Sanjusange…
Deer crackers for our 4 legged fri…
Deer crackers for our 4 legged fr…
Todai-ji
Todai-ji
Nandai-mon Gate
Nandai-mon Gate
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto
photo by: ys484