Japanese Tourism: Nara is the Cradle of High Culture in the Land of the Rising Sun
Tomoko Hara and Sarah Deschamps
Modern Tokyo Times
Nara is the birthplace where Japanese high culture began to flourish. In time, this would equally become embodied within the environment of Kyoto after the capital was moved to this imperial city. This amazing city is located in the vibrant Kansai region where the heart of Japan continues to beat strongly. Therefore, international and domestic tourists continue to flock to many areas of Kansai in order to be enriched and refreshed. Not surprisingly, Nara is at the top of the list of places to visit because of the richness of culture in this vibrant part of Japan.
The beauty of Nara is that history, culture, religion and passion remains firmly embedded within the psyche of this gem of a place. Obviously, the richness of culture means that UNESCO recognizes the stunning reality of Nara because of its rich sophistication. Collectively, the special places are named the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, whereby this UNESCO World Heritage Site highlights the amazing treasures of ancient Japan. This recognition is fully justified because culture, history, spirituality, art and the stunning scenery fuses together to create a unique atmosphere.
Nara treasures and must places to visit include Gango-ji, Heijo Palace, Kasuga Shrine, Kofuku-ji, Saidai-ji, Todai-ji, Toshodai-ji and Yakushi-ji. Likewise, a visit to the Kasugayama Primeval Forest highlights everything which is special about Nara. Of course, you have many other amazing places to visit in this gem of a city. This applies to museums, gardens, art galleries, holy places and a whole array of other cultural realities related to traditional crafts and other areas of culture like ceramics.
If you adore Japanese Buddhist art then the Nara National Museum is a fantastic place to visit. Also, the location of this museum is within the Nara Park area that is equally blessed with famous religious places to visit. In Nara Park, you will witness roaming deer that is also a symbol of importance to the Shinto faith. This relates to the deer being the messengers of the gods and while Buddhism may dominate in Nara and Kyoto, it is clear that the Shinto faith survives within the fabric of Japanese society.
The Kasugayama Primeval Forest is a great place to visit because this tourist destination is blessed with 175 different types of trees. Wildlife is therefore in full flow in this adorable place because different types of plants, insects, birds and animals bless this lovely forest. Within the spacious grounds, you can see glimpses of Kasuga Taisha Shrine from various different angles. Indeed, the delightful backdrop and unspoiled area is a real treat because you can imagine how Japan once looked like in the distant past, providing the respective imagination is in full flow.
On the website (http://narashikanko.or.jp/en/) of the Nara City Sightseeing Information Center, it states: “Nara was the glorious capital, “like a fragrant flower in full bloom,” as an ancient poet once described it. Nara was the cradle of the great Japanese arts and the essence of culture in the long-ago Tempyo Period. The old, world-famous temples and shrines of the province of Yamato (presently Nara Prefecture) have handed down to us their precious history. Among others, the cathedrals of Todaiji, Kofukuji, Yakushiji, Toshodaiji and the Kasuga Grand Shrine are settings where one can encounter the rich, elegant ambiance of the Tempyo Culture. As you go through the corridors, and glance at the tiled roofs of these cathedrals, the Tempyo Culture will make you forget all about time and space, and will whisper to you about the old days of well over a thousand years as though they were yesterday.”
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times states: “The above comment suits Nara splendidly because the old world survives within the new world in the land of the rising sun. Historically, Nara is the real cradle of high culture in Japan irrespective if this applies to the period of the eighth century itself, or whereby the Nara era enabled even older history and culture to thrive. After all, the new power dynamics of ancient Nara was about reflecting on the real gems within Japanese culture and learning from distant China.”
Nara is also a paradise for amazing arts and crafts. Therefore, it is well worth exploring this side of this delightful and amazing city. The artistry of arts and crafts in Nara still survives despite the onset of new technology that altered the landscape of Japan a long time ago. This is based on unique skills that have survived in order to preserve the richness of Nara and highlight the splendor of this adorable city.
Overall, this article provides a brief glimpse into the world of Nara. Therefore, please check the links below to obtain further information. If you adore culture then Nara is a real treasure because you have so many places to visit. Simply put, Nara is blessed by the Gods of time!
Lee Jay Walker gave guidance to both writers
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/nara/index.html Japan National Tourism Organization
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2165.html Japan Guide
http://narashikanko.or.jp/en/ Nara City Sightseeing Information Center
http://www.infomapjapan.com/sight_Nara.phtml Info Map Japan
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