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Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

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Los Angeles...
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Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

Hello. We would like to see Kofukuji, Deer Park, and the Great Buddha.

Can someone please suggest what route is best to see these 3 attractions? If possible, please tell me the logical order to visit these places.

Also, what type of transportation should we use? We will be coming from Nara station.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Kanazawa, Japan
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1. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

If you arrive by JR, perhaps take a taxi to Kofukuji. Then you can walk to Todaiji through the deer park. If you arrive By Kintetsu you can easily walk everywhere.

My very favorite Nara place is Kasuga shrine. It's a nice walk up there through the deer park and I love the lanterns. They are only lit a couple of times a year, but just looking at them in daytime is cool too - every one is different. Naramachi is also really nice to walk around. There is a machiya you can enter and it is quite a nice one, and some interesting shops, too. Some are quite unique.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

fish2, thank you for the route information. Thank you especially for sharing your favorite palce in Nara, Kasuga shrine. We will stop by when we are in Nara. Have a great day!

Nara, Japan
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3. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

If you come via Kintetsu Rialroad Line, you'll find Kofukuji is located just a couple of blocks away from Kintetsu Nara. In case you ride a JR train to Nara, you might as well go all the way there through Sanjo Street, a 15-minute easy walk. After spending some time in the Kofukuji compounds, you may like to go through the gravel worshippers' road that leads you to Kasuga/Wakamiya Shrine. Yes, you'd want to detour here, hitting the vast open grassy fields you see on your right-hand side, to play with roaming deer if you are with children. Adjacent to those grassy fields is another place of interest called Ukimido, where (if the timing is right) you'll be able to walk on the lane under gorgeopus plumeria/cherry blossoms. Kasuga/Wakamiya Shrine is not far from here. Either 1)you can walk back to the gravel worshippers' road to reach the shrine: FYI, the reason most of the roads leading to shinto shrines are gravelled, not paved, is because there has to be a purification rite for visitors like rinsing your mouth with water at entrances, or in the case of a sumo wrestler throwing out salt onto the ring, the idea being that you need to cleanse dirt off from your shoes while approaching the sacred place, or 2)you can go along the paved road which is on the hilly side where you spot a thatched-roof house (Marumado-tei) and proceed until you find a narrow paved road on your left past a parking lot. If you go in there and walk straight on a slightly uphill slope, Kasuga/Wakamiya Shrine is a 5minutes' walk away; um, better not get waylaid or lost by entering narrow dirt pathways around here; just follow people walking ahead of you in the residential area. When you've done that shrine: note bronze lanterns are unique and that people often take pictures of the red corridor right ouside the gate, take a right and walk down long flights of stairs until you get to see a thatched-roof cafe on your left. Having a cup of hot amazake (sweet sake) or matcha/coffee there might be a good idea. Then you can head for Nigatudo (February Hall), which commands a nice view of the city, via the touristy road down the foot of Wakakusa Hill. If you're physically fit, climbing up that hill is a helluva good experience because of its far nicer views....yes, it's closed during the springtime.

After February Hall done, go down either to Big Bell or along the classy white yellowish walls so you can access to the greatest attraction in Nara, which is none other than Great Buddha Hall. Um, the building is not huge but colossal, if you ask me, the largest of all the wooden building in the whole world. Maybe I should cut my trap here so you may get yourself more hands-on in anticipating the encounter with the bronze statue inside. Just a hint here: his middle finger is 1.08meters in length, 22centimetes in diameter for each one of the shell-like curls in his hair...

Edited: 04 March 2011, 13:41
Nara, Japan
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4. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

Sorry I forgot to say this:

the whole trip mentioned above will take 3-4 or 4-5hours, depending on how fast you walk.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

Shot, wow! Thank you so much for your very detailed and informative post. I have printed it out and put it in my travel folder. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I can invision our route much better as a result of your description. Thanks!

Los Angeles...
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6. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

I havbe a question about your post .

You mention the walk is closed in springtime. Do you think it will be open the first week in April?

Nara, Japan
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7. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

You're welcome, springtulip. This year Wakakusa Hill gets opened on March19, so you have no problem making it to the top (and perhaps soaking in the great sakura atmosphere along your way). On your right is the mountain of "Pristine Woods," on your left a valley of "One-Thousand Cherry Trees" as you face the top. That valley can be best seen from the narrow pathway leading to the first hilltop. FYI, the deer around here don't bow when you feed'em, as opposed to others you find everywhere else in the park;) they are very agil to boot...

Sorry for sidetracking. On top of the hill, you'll be able to see a great view of the city way down below and beautiful cherry blossoms as well on there. Takes about 35min from bottom to top if you take the grassy route on your right, not the other pathway mentioned above. I suggest climbing up from the right-hand side: the Pristine Woods side and climing down from the other side: the One Thousand Sakura side, if you are physically fit. That way you'll know better about what the hill has to offer.

You sure have a great day here; that I can assure you.

Lastly, take a note of this if you think you need to: people bring here lunch/bento boxes and beverages with them to give a positve twist to their sakura experiences, and to them that's what "hanami" is all about.

Have a blast!

Japan
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8. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

Shot-san,

This is a beautiful description! Have you put this one of those information pages here on TA? It would be a great addition. I printed it out myself so I can share it with my students. Thank you so much!!!!

JTT

Nara, Japan
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9. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

You are welcome, JTT.

Thanks for your comment. Think I'll do what you suggest one of these days.

10. Re: Please suggest route for Kofukuji, Deer Park & Great Buddha

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