Western Japan - Nara
A follow-on from my Osaka trip, once you set your base at Osaka or Shin Osaka (my recommendation) you can then make use a 5-day JR West pass to visit the surrounding regions.
Certainly one of the first places along the tourist route is Nara. Do allocate at least a day here as the place is really huge and be prepared to do a fair bit of walking. So Nara is famous for the deer park, where hundreds of tame deer roam the vast countryside.
Be sure to visit Todaiji (the Great Eastern Temple) located in the grounds of the deer park. It is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and is a landmark in Nara. The construction of the temple started in 752 as head temple of all the provincial Buddhist temples of Japan.
Todaiji's main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world's largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple hall's size. The massive building houses one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.
If you are slim enough, you can try sneaking your way through one of the main temple columns.
The beautiful countryside is flanked by many historical temples and buildings, so do take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds in the park.
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It is M.K. Wong's dream to visit at least 50 countries before his feet can carry him no more. With over 35 countries under his belt, M.K. is planning for his next escapade.