Nara, Japan

Todaiji is a Buddhist temple complex in the ancient city of Nara, Japan. Two large, menacing statues stand on either side of the entrance to the complex, and I honestly wondered if I should go any further (the statues were creepy, but I was so sidetracked by all the beautiful deer wandering around that I didn’t want to leave the entrance!). Its Great Buddha Hall houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana (a celestial buddha). This Buddha is very impressive and overwhelming when you first enter the temple. There are several other statues inside the temple that would be impressive on their own, but they are underwhelming when one is confronted with the sheer size of the Buddha.

Sika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the temple grounds freely and don’t mind you petting them as long as you have some food!

*These pictures were scanned from film originals, so the quality is less than ideal.

k.h. 2004