The third day was our last day in Nara, and the main stop was Horyuji, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. It was Japan’s first World Heritage Site, and it is said to be the oldest wooden structure in the world. The temple is slightly older than Nara as a capital city, so it is already more than 1300 years old, which is extremely impressive for something made of wood.
Horyuji is some distance to the west of Nara, and you would have to rush around quite a bit to see both it and the Great Buddha in one day. That was why I hadn’t been to Horyuji before; the trip to Nara I went on from Yamasa was to the Great Buddha end. We took a taxi to get our luggage to the JR station in Nara, and then put the big items in coin lockers while we got the train out to the temple. We wanted to put Mayuki’s inflatable deer in the locker to wait for us, but Mayuki wasn’t having that. So the inflatable deer got to see the World Heritage Site.
The temple is quite big, and the oldest part is only one section. It is, however, extremely impressive, and under constant maintenance, in the hope that it will last another 1300 years. While we were there, the roof of the rear hall, where the monks originally studied, was being redone. You could make a donation, and write your name inside a tile which would be used on the roof. We did, and I managed to mess up the katakana on my name. So, my bad Japanese will be preserved at Horyuji for at least a century. If I manage to get famous, it could well be preserved for ever. Must be careful about that.
Mayuki was very good most of the time we were at the temple, but she isn’t quite old enough to really appreciate historic buildings. She enjoyed being carried around on my shoulders, or standing on bridges to look into ponds, far more. Still, there was plenty for her to enjoy in the visit, and she did seem to have fun. It was only when she got tired that she started complaining, or falling asleep on my shoulder.
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