I’m big in Japan: Tōdai-ji (2005 May 15)

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Next stop on the tour was Tōdai-ji, the largest wooden building in the world and home to a colossal bronze Buddha statue. The temple was in the middle of Nara, and its gardens were populated by the famous Nara deer. Vendors would sell you deer crackers you could then feed to the beasts or eat them yourself if you were so inclined.

As advertised, the statue was indeed colossal but not well lit; took a bit of playing with the camera settings to get any decent shots. This was made difficult by the sea of visitors crowding the inside of the temple. One of the temple pillars had a hole cut out of it; the legend is that the hole is the size of the statue’s nostril. If you can pass your body through it, you will gain enlightenment in your next life. I was enlightened enough to not risk getting my fat load wedged in and become the next Fark cliché.

After taking in the enormity of the Buddha, we roamed about watching tourists feed the deer. This was one of the few stops where I wished we had come on our own; it would have been nice to explore the surrounding gardens and area more. However, our time was limited, and we needed to move along to our next destination.