Monday, January 4, 2016

Kofukuji and Todaiji Temple

The next morning, we woke up at 08.00, immediately pack up and check out of the hotel to go to the next town, Nara. Previously we have breakfast at Sukiya near the hotel. Monday did not look busy as weekdays in Jakarta, just seemed a few people stopped by for breakfast on the way to their office. I know it from the clothes they wear. Frenzied atmosphere overnight has not looked as bars and restaurants in the area is still closed. Just seems some people passing to their destinations each.

While eating, I explained to my friends about our travel plans today. Nara city, located 42 km south of Kyoto was the capital of Japan in the past (years 710-784 AD) and is the center of a treasure trove of arts, crafts and literature of Japan. Buddhism thrived in this city because of the great support of the Emperor. Nara is a town with UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other prefecture in Japan. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful town that makes Nara the perfect place for contemplation. Most of the historic sites can be visited on foot, for about 5 hours.

Osaka Station
After a full breakfast, we went to the Osaka Station to catch the train to Nara. First we had to catch the train to Osaka Loop Line operated by JR West to Tsuruhashi Station with a ticket price of ¥ 170, then proceed with the Kintetsu Nara Line trains Rapid Express operated railway company Kintetsu up Kintetsunara Station at a price of ¥ 480 ticket. Total travel time is 50 minutes. This is the cheapest and fastest option to get the city of Nara.

Another option is to use the train JR Nara Station Rapid Yamatoji goal with ticket ¥ 780 and takes 51 minutes. Only operated JR Nara Station West is not actually located in the city center, but 1 km further away from the first temple that we want to visit when compared with Kintetsunara Station.

We are experiencing technical problems when a train transfer in Tsuruhashi Station. As I explained above, the Osaka Loop Line operated by JR West so we had to transfer to Kintetsu Nara Line Rapid Express operated by the railway company Kintetsu. Each company has a rail network that is separate. After coming down from the Osaka Loop Line to Nara we buy tickets at ticket vending machines nearby. But when the ticket is inserted into a ticket machine, the ticket is rejected. I also was confused how the Osaka Loop Line ticket which we bought earlier. I have tried many times to no avail, and this excited the officers at Kintetsu Tsuruhashi Station.

The officer then explained that the way the transfer is to include both earlier to the ticket machines, ticket for the purpose Kintetsunara later would come out at the end of the engine electronic doors to my store and fill out a ticket at the station Kintetsunara while Osaka Loop Line will be recorded by the machine. This method can be applied in Jakarta to tackle the problem of transfer passengers MRT and monorail which is planned to be operational in 2016.

Kofukuji
We arrived at the station at 11.00 Kintetsunara. At the station, we left the bag in the locker coins are widely available. To save money, we entrust the entire bag in a locker at a cost of ¥ 500. Next we headed first temple that is (Kofukuji). The temple was first built in 710 AD is included in UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its heyday, the temple has 175 buildings, but most have been destroyed during the 1,300-year journey. The main building remaining is 5 storey pagoda dating from 1426, Tokondo Hall which was built in 1415 and pagoda 3 floors of the early 13th century.

In this temple we just drive around in the temple courtyard. But I found a group of students who were photographed kamehameha a la Dragon Ball Z. Currently this photo pose a trend among high school students in Japan.

Kofukuji satisfied, we go to the next destination is the park  (Yoshikien). At first we also want to park (Isuien), but we are required to pay ¥ 500 to enjoy this Japanese-style garden. Finally we visited Yoshikien located beside the park Isuien, foreign tourists are free to enjoy the garden is cared for. Yoshikien park is very well maintained and there was silence. The sound of running water from a small river next to the park really reassuring.

The next goal is the Nara National Museum. Unfortunately when we were there, the museum is closed. We only around a spacious garden filled with deer wandering freely. The places we visited today are largely located in Nara Park, a nature reserve inhabited area of ​​approximately 1,200 tailed deer population.

Nara National Museum
After that we went to  (Todaiji Temple) situated not far from the museum. This temple is famous for  (Daibutsu), a giant Buddha statue 16.2 meter tall bronze. Daibutsu is a building that houses the largest wooden structure in the world. Todaiji was also awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because the back has to pay ¥ 500, my friend refused to go in.

We then continue to the next destination, namely  (Nigatsudo) Hall. Nigatsudo Hall is still a part of the Todaiji, but its location at the foot (Mount Wakakusa) makes it look like separate from Todaiji complex. Historically, this temple was built by a Buddhist monk named Jitchu in the year 752 as a temple Sanetada. Fortunately for us to go into the Hall Nigatsudo is free of charge. We can see Nara City of altitude in this place.

After the Nigatsudo Hall, we went back on foot and discover the Mount Wakakusa located at an altitude of 342 meters above sea level. Vegetation in this hill looks very well maintained. Apparently grass growth is maintained by burning every year on the fourth Saturday in January, the celebration itself is called (yamayaki), or the literal translation burn dead grass on the slopes. To go up the hill, visitors must pay ¥ 150. Of course we skipped this because it is satisfied watched from behind the fence

Kasuga Taisha
Furthermore, we walked back to (Kasuga Taisha), which is one of the Shinto shrine whose whereabouts are among the most important in Japan. This temple was built in 768 AD in the middle of vast forests with dominant red color that makes a contrast with the surrounding trees. Kasuga Taisha included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. However having to pay ¥ 500, we do not enter into it.

Temple last we visited in Nara is (Shin Yakushiji), a temple built in the year 747. The main building which originated in the same year and several statues of Buddha are also housed here, confirmed as World Heritage by the Japanese Government. The price of the entry ticket expensive when compared to other temples, which is ¥ 600. Therefore we chose to go to the old city of Nara course, called Naramachi.

Naramachi used to be a residential area merchants whose history can be traced back to several centuries ago. Residential architecture in the region has not changed since a few centuries ago as an effort to preserve culture. In this area there is a row of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and cultural museum. We just drive around until it reached the (Swimming Sarusawa-ike). The pool is located behind Kofukuji. 5-storey pagoda Kofukuji reflection can be seen in the water in this pool on a sunny day. We rested for a moment because since the morning run without pause.

Naramachi used to be a residential area merchants whose history can be traced back to several centuries ago. Residential architecture in the region has not changed since a few centuries ago as an effort to preserve culture. In this area there is a row of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and cultural museum. We just drive around until it reached the (Swimming Sarusawa-ike). The pool is located behind Kofukuji. 5-storey pagoda Kofukuji reflection can be seen in the water in this pool on a sunny day. We rested for a moment because since the morning run without pause.

16:30, we had arrived back at the station Kintetsunara. After taking the bag and bought our tickets right down to the platform. However, the train Kyoto goal, our next destination just arrived at 17:17. We ride Kintetsu Kyoto Line Express with the ticket price of ¥ 610. The distance covered 39 km and takes about 46 minutes.

Promptly at 18:02, we arrived at Kyoto Station. We went straight to check in at our inn that night, Kyoto Hana Hostel. This hostel is our cheapest accommodation during in Japan, a person charged ¥ 2,500.

Fushimi Inari
After dinner, I propose to my friends to pay a visit to one of the temples in Kyoto, namely (Fushimi Inari Taisha), which incidentally was only one station from Kyoto Station. We rode the local fire ketera Nara goal with ¥ 140 ticket. We were then dropped off at a small station called Station Inari. Once out of the door of the station, appeared gate Fushimi Inari Taisha stands. This shrine is a major shrine of Inari, which was founded in the foothills are also called Inari. This temple is a symbol of the fox. The interesting thing about this temple is that visitors can feel the hiking to the top of the hill along 4 kilometers. Along the way there are thousands  (Torii) that houses the visitor.

It was already evening and we were too tired after walking for 5 hours in Nara afternoon, we just climb up the nearest Torii row. My friends asked for a photo and then we went back to the hostel to rest.