Friday, April 23, 2010

The 1300th year

This year marks the 1300th year of Nara becoming the capital of Japan. Nara is celebrating this occasion. The main venue, Heijo Palace Site, opens tomorrow on April 24 and will be opened till Nov 7, 2010. Here is a little review of what you can experience at the site.

・Reconstructed palace buildings - Suzaku Gate, Imperial Audience Hall, East Palace Garden
*East Palace Garden is said to be the origin of Japanese Garden.

・Reconstructed Japanese diplomatic ship.
*Can broad the ship.

TO DO:*Most attractions are free for foreigners with a presentation of passports.
・Dress in Tnnpyo-style clothing - dresses Japanese wore before Kimono.

・Get a guide and walk around - there will be English speaking volunteer guides (limited in number). Also self-guiding system using iPod (for rent) is organized to walk on your own. Or better book a Nara Walk guide!
*Heijo Palace Site is registered as a World Heritage Site, but the heritage is under the ground. A guide is recommended to understand and appreciate the place. The site is about 130ha. Be ready to walk.
*self-guiding system using iPod is available in English, French, Chinese and Korean.

・East Nara cuisine - there will be food courts and souvenir shops selling Nara's tastes.

・Free shuttle buses running between JR Nara Station/ Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station and the Heijo Palace Site.
・The palace site is about 15min walk form Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station (second stop form Kintetsu Nara Station).


Some of Nara Walk member are working as a staff at the information centre of the Heijo Palace Site. Hope we have a chance to see you at the palace site!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Buddha!

April 8th is the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama. Commonly known as the Buddha, he is the founder of Buddhism. Nara's Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple and many more temples across Japan will be holding a ceremony to celebrate his birthday. In some temples you can take a part in the celebration by pouring sweet tea over a baby Buddha statue. (Why people are pouring sweet tea? - Join our tour and ask our guide!)

Todaiji Temple (The Great Buddha Hall)
・Ceremony: 8:00~ 9:00
・Pouring sweet tea: 8:00 ~ 15:00  *Times are approx. only.

Kofukuji Temple (Nanendo Hall)
・Sweet tea is served to visitors.

Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple are part of our daily tour destinations.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wisdom Of Old And New From China

Expo 2010 Shanghai starts on May 1. The theme is "Better City, Better Life." While you are to see the latest developments in Shanghai, in Nara you can learn about the wisdom brought from China to Japan long time ago. Nara National Museum is holding an exhibition. The title is "Imperial Envoys to Tang China: Early Japanese Encounters with Continental Culture".

About 1300 years ago, Japan sent first imperial envoys to Tang and brought back advanced knowledge and culture to Japan. In this exhibition, you will be able to see cultural connection between China and Japan, and how Japan absorbed and developed continental culture into its own with 261 exhibits (42 National Treasures).

Duration: 2010. 4. 3 ~ 2010. 6. 20
closed on Mondays (except for May 3)
Hours: 9:30 ~ 17:00 (Fridays ~19:00 from April 30)
Admission Fee: Adults 1400yen, High School/University Students 1000yen, Elementary/Junior High School Students 500yen

*22nd of every Month is a married couple day. A married couple visiting the museum on this day get half price off from their admission fee.
*Advanced tickets are 200yen off from the regular admission fee. Sold at major Kintetsu and JR train stations.

* * * * *
More Info~: If you enjoy this exhibition, you might as well enjoy Toshodaiji Temple and Yakushiji Temple in Nara. These two temples will show you more of the historical connection between Tang China and Japan of 1300 years ago. (We have a tour going to these two temples!:Half-day Nishinokyo Tour.)

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