MARCH 23RD - APRIL 14TH, 2010
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Thursday, April 8, 2010


today was an absolutely GORGEOUS day, and it was also buddha's birthday! so what better place to go than nara, where it has japan's largest buddha!

here is where nara is :) pretty close. just a 45 minute train ride away

now, not only was it buddha's birthday today, but the year 2010 is also the 1300th anniversary for nara! nara is japan's original capital, so that was pretty cool. they have banners and posters all over the place letting people know

nara is a very beautiful place with lots of parks...

AND DEER!!!!!!

waaaay more deer than miyajima had! and these ones are all over the place, walking around


a baby!


anyway, we continued on our path to go see buddha

starting to enter the todaiji temple

not a cloud in the sky! as you can see, this temple where buddha is, is huge. it's also the largest wooden building in the world!

and here is buddha inside! again, you really cannot tell from the pictures, but this buddha is GIGANTIC. it's 49.1 feet tall! the ears alone are 8.3 feet tall haha...

the little statues on the gold part behind him are about the same size as a person (to help you see how big it is!)

it was pretty awesome

this statue (also inside the temple) is also huge, and carved out of wood! he is a guardian inside the temple

a supporting post in the temple has a hole apparently the same size as one of the buddha's nostrils. legend has it that those who pass through it will be blessed with enlightenment in their next life!

us in front of the todaiji temple

after the temple, we walked back through the deer park, and the great thing with this park is that you can buy crackers for the deer and they go absolutely BONKERS!

this guy made a mistake and didn't run away immediately after buying his crackers

they get...pushy haha

so we bought a pack of crackers, and ran a pretty good distance away with them, but the deer knew better, and a few followed us the whole distance!

attacking erik! 

but...these deer also BOW for crackers!!! it was so cool!

okay they're gettin' grabby again haha...

then we rode one back to the station (just kidding!) ;)

but we saw this on our walk back, and thought it looked funny

we also saw these guys on our walk back. they were hitting that gluttonous rice ball really hard!

then in this part, it was SUPER fast, and the one guy was flipping the ball over with his hands while the other hit it with the mallet. i thought mallet was going to hit that poor guy's hands because they were going so fast! and look at those ARM muscles!

and then a 3rd guy has the super easy job of coating the little balls so people could buy them to eat haha

what a great day! and a gorgeous train ride home!


  1. so.. did you go through the hole in the supporting post of the temple? enlightenment in your next life would be a hard thing to pass up!

  2. so basically what youre telling me is... deer are obnoxious gluttons all over the world, and not just ohio.

    duly noted.

  3. haha aunt patti! i wanted to, but i was worried i wouldn't fit through! it looked pretty small, and tiny japanese women were struggling to get through, so i figured i miiight fit through, but i didn't want to risk looking like a complete idiot in front of all those people hahahahaha

    and yep, jenn! it's true! haha

  4. Hi Jacqui, we are going to Japan this Nov and was wondering if you could advise if purchasing a JR West pass is advisable or is it easy to purchase the tickets in Japan, thanks. Rey

  5. hey! well, it depends on a few things like how long your trip will be.
    first, here is the website so you can see pricing/etc:

    the JR pass was amazing, but you really dont need it in tokyo (i'll write more about this in a bit). the JR passes have a 7-day option as well as a 14-day and 21-day option and they are expensive, but a lot of the time, they actually SAVE you money.

    bullet train rides are EXPENSIVE. surprisingly expensive. i just looked up on www.hyperdia.com how much it would be to go from tokyo to kyoto on a bullet train and it is 7980 yen (roughly $91) and it looks like if you want to get a reserved seat to make sure there is definitely going to be a spot for you, it's 5040 yen ($58) MORE. so, we're talking about 13020 yen ($150) for a ONE-WAY TRIP to the kyoto region from tokyo lol...for one person! times that by 2 if you'll be heading back to tokyo (to the airport, for example, to head home), and you're up to 26040 yen ($300).

    the 7-day JR pass is 37800 yen ($435), so you're almost to the same amount as the JR pass would be. does that make sense? and if you buy the JR pass, you can use it for those 7 days on ANY JR trains/bullet trains (except the nozomi trains. you can't use those). sooo...that means that if you go to hiroshima at some point too, you can get there super fast on a bullet train since you can ride unlimited bullet trains (and reserve the seats for free) on the JR pass. i just looked that up on hyperdia too, and it looks like from kyoto to hiroshima (one way, per person) it would be 6300 yen ($72), plus a reserved seat would add on 4290 yen ($50). so, times that by 2 (to get back), and it's 21180 yen ($244).

    so now, with just those 4 bullet train rides, you are at 47220 yen ($544). so you're already past how much the JR rail pass would cost (for the 7-day pass), so it's definitely worth it to buy one to use it for all your train travel outside of tokyo if you plan on being outside of tokyo for a week and sightseeing a lot.

    you will only be using it outside of tokyo because you wont be using bullet trains while in tokyo, so it's not worth it money wise to get a longer JR pass. we got the 14-day JR pass because we were in tokyo for a week, and then outside of tokyo for 14 days (well, on the last day we were heading back into tokyo, but we were still able to use that bullet train on our JR pass since it was our last day). we used the suica card while in tokyo.

    here is a website about the suica card:
    the suica card is basically like a debit card that you can just keep adding money to when you run out on the card (it automatically deducts how much you owe when you leave a station). it was awesome and very very easy. i dont know your itinerary, but if you are flying into narita and staying somewhere close to the shinjuku station like we did (the sunroute plaza shinjuku) i HIGHLY recommend getting the suica/NEX deal:

    the NEX train takes you straight from the airport to the shinjuku station, and since our hotel was super close, we just walked there in like 5 minutes. it was a perfect deal for us.

    anyway, so, look at your itinerary and see how much you plan to be outside of tokyo and if any of the JR passes would be worth it to you guys. typically they are, but it sort of depends on how long you plan to be there :) and if you do decide to get one, you MUST get it outside of japan. we got ours through a local travel agent (same with the studio ghibli museum tickets). if you have any other questions, please feel free to e-mail me! my email is jtont02@gmail.com :)