Thursday, April 30, 2009

Calorie Free Sweeteners - Hotel Nikko Nara

While Japan is big on tea, coffee is certainly popular. This is a no calorie sweetener that the hotel had. It is unusual in the fact that rarely seen is a no calorie sweetener. Most places have either sugar in the tubes, honey or some other sugary product.

Hotel Nikko Nara

The Imperial Family has stayed at the hotel.

Making an international call from the hotel lobby. It is less expensive to place the call yourself, however, the instructions for making the call are a bit complicated. The hotel will give you a card with instructions but the instructions are wrong. No matter, the phone has the correct instructions labeled on it. Finding out by trial and error works with patience. The green phone is the phone for making international calls. The gray phone is for domestic calls only.

This is a phone card used for making calls. 1,000 Yen will give you ten minutes.
Hotel Nikko Nara

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bus Stop near Yakushi-ji Temple

Public transportation in Japan

Bus stops seem to be in obscure places but they are old and well used intersections.

Press the light when you are expecting to get off at the next stop. Have your money ready so you can exit quickly. All done in Japanese efficient style. Lots of people on the bus have either their cell phone or iPod in hand.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Toshodai-ji Temple Brochure in English

Temple Pass

The Temple Brochures are very informative and give the visitor a good overview of the temples historic significance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yakushi-ji Temple

Main hall, pagoda's are on either side.

West pagoda

Main lecture hall, the gold protrusions on top of the roof are symbolic of bird wings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yakushi-ji Temple

East Pagoda, national treasure, total height 34 meters. This pagoda, miraculously survived the fire that destroyed Yakushi-ji in 1528, is the only architecture of the Hakuho period in Japan. This three storied pagoda, which looks as if it were six storied because of the Mokoshi (lean-to) added to each story, is rare in its style, and is described as "frozen music" because of its rhythmically fine appearance.

This is the newer pagoda (west), it was rebuilt in 1980 owing to the movement for copying the Heart Sutra.

Pagoda means a grave in Pali, the ancient Indian language, and it was called "stupa" in Sanskrit. Pagoda means the grave of Buddha.

Yakushi-ji is the first Temple which had twin pagoda's on its grounds.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yakushi-ji Temple

Yakushiji is one of the seven great temples of Nara. It is part of the Hosso sect, founded by Xuanzang (JPN: Genjo) in China around 630, and established in Japan by the middle of the 7th century.

Yakushiji temple was planned by Emperor Temmu in 680, but was actually constructed by his Empress (Jito) after the Emperor's death. Ironically, the Emperor had commissioned the temple to pray for the recovery of the Empress from a serious illness. Yakushiji was originally constructed in Fujiwara-kyo south of Nara (present day Kashihara city), and was finally completed in 698. The temple was moved to its present location in 718, after the capital was moved to the north of Nara in 710.

Today the Yakushiji temple compound consists of several buildings including the Kondo (main hall), the Kodo (lecture hall), the East and West Pagodas, and the Toindo (East Hall). Most of the original buildings of the temple were destroyed over the years by fires, warfare or natural disasters. However, the East Pagoda has survived, and is the only architecture from the 7th century Hakuoh period in Japan. The other building that is not a recent restoration is the Toindo. This was initially rebuilt in 1285, and underwent extensive restoration in 1733. These two buildings are visually distinct from the others as they have not been painted in the red and white style. The other buildings in the complex are recent restorations built during the past 30 years.

East Pagoda, the only architecture from the 7th century Hakuoh period in Japan.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yakushi-ji Temple

Built in the 7th century, Yakushi-ji was one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara and is head of the Hosso sect of Buddhism. Founded 680; completed 698; moved to Nara 718; Toindo rebuilt 1285; Genjo Sanzo founded 1981

The East Pagoda, from the 7th century.

Yakushi-ji Temple from Sacred Destinations