We re-traced our steps and set out for the Todaiji temple hoping to see two gardens on our way. We did not find the gardens (yet). Once we got to the first gate of the temple we found the crowds – many groups of school children but a fair number of tourists too.
The school children seemed to have the task of talking to tourists and asking where we came from, what we liked in Nara or Japan and so on. We answered the first few groups but after a while it became rather a nuisance and we were less cooperative. There were also a large number of pre-school age children there in groups.
The temple and its enclosure are very big and the bronze Buddha is huge and impressive. While we were inside it rained but we did not have to wait long for it to stop.
From there we walked on to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine – Shinto – through the forest where it was quite peaceful as not many others took our route.
The shrine itself was again bustling. The paths leading to the shrine are lined with stone lanterns and as there had been a festival last week many still had paper covering the holes. Most of them were stone, but we also saw some with wooden lattices.
This post is an extract of my mother’s travel journal written during a tour of Japan in 2014.