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Nikko & Nara's

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Nikko & Nara's

Infinite Playlist

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Hands up if you got the not-so-subtle film reference in the title?  

Nikko & Nara were both fairly unplanned side trips on days we had spare but turned out to be easily two of the highlights.  Nara is a smaller town about an hour outside of Osaka which is almost as popular with tourist as it is with the wild deer.  They were everywhere and wanted only one thing: Deer Biscuits.  Sold by street vendors for 100 yen, your purchase of these biscuits transformed you into an instant deer celebrity! As they swarmed around trying to snatch them or bite your arse if you turned and ran, the only chance was to hide them immediately in a bag and find a quieter spot to entice a deer.  Thats where the fun started.  It turns out these deer had been taught how to bow before receiving biscuits, raise a bikkie in the air and each deer would bow their head to you to receive their treat… awesome :)

Nara's other great attraction is the 15m tall great Buddha housed within Todaiji Temple, itself one of the largest wooden buildings on the planet.  It needed to be big too because even seated this bronze Buddha crafted in 752 AD nearly touches the ceiling.  I tried but its very difficult to capture the scale of this statue just take my word for it, once you step inside the front door, its presence is breathtaking.

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Nikko is about 2 hours north of Tokyo and features a great variety of temples, shrines, lakes and gardens.  On a short day trip out of Tokyo we had time only to see around the township and shrine areas.  A low cloud and mist hung around the town giving it an eerie calm and disguising the higher peaks that surrounded us.  Many of the better known shrines were covered for renovations (as was the case throughout Japan) but even so, Nikko had plenty to see, feeling like a smaller and quieter version of Kyoto.   

The bridge above is called Shinkyo "Sacred Bridge" and up until the early 1970's was off limit to the general public.  I chose not to pay to cross it but instead admire it from the adjacent road bridge :)  Some things just look better when you stand back from them, as is the case with Mt Fuji… but that is a series of its own for another time...

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