In 743, the emperor Shomu ordered the building of a giant Buddha. Japan had been suffering from smallpox and drought, and the emperor hoped to settle unrest and unite the people with relatively new ideas of Buddhism. The almost 15-meter high Buddha, cast in copper and coated with gold, was completed in 752. The structure housing it, known as the Daibutsu Den, is possibly the largets wooden building in the world and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the oldest and largest shrines in Japan, Kasuga Taisha enshrines four Shinto deities and is considered the family shrine of the Fujiwaras, a clan that was powerful when Nara was made capital of Japan. The lanterns are presented by worshippers, and are lighted twice a year.
Listen to the atmosphere in Kasuga Taisha temple:
Kasuga Taisha is a UNESCO Worl Heritage Site.
Of course, the traditional sushi made of tender fish, prawn, urchin, squid, fish eggs, omelet, vegetables...
I`ve tried them all and love them all...except natto sushi, made of fermented soya beans, which has a very strong taste.
Japanese noodles are called udon (thick noodles) and soba (thin noodles).
Takoyaki, a popular Japanese dumpling made of octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, konnyaku, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green laver (aonori), mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (fish shavings), originating from Osaka.
Dango, a dumpling made from rice flour (mochiko), served with a red bean paste (anko). Oishi !!!
Okonomiyaki: grilled on a hot pan, it is a savory pancake made from flour. You can add vegetables, meat, seafood or noodles... It is then topped with katsuobushi, mayonnaise and bean sauce.
The Japanese are mainly Buddhist. Going to the temple to pray their many Gods and make wishes is part of everyday life.
For 100 yens, you can shake a box containing sticks, until one falls. The number written on the stick corresponds to one poem. I tested my good fortune at Meiji Jingu in Tokyo. The poem I got was composed in the traditional 31-syllable form (waka), by the Empress Shoken. These Imperial poems deliver special messages...
My "Omikuji" says :
The God of love
This stone is called "Love-fortune-telling" stone. If you walk safely from this stone to the other with your eyes closed, your wish will be granted soon. If you can`t, it will be long before your love is realized!!! ...
Listen to Japanese priests praying.