Herman Nootix in Japan
Herman: Time for a stroll through Japanese history in Nara.
This region is the cradle of Japanese civilization. Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan, and the surrounding hills are scattered with historical sites, such as ancient temples, and emperors’ houses with so fascinating, you could spend weeks exploring! But then, you’ve got something else to do, I suppose.
Before Buddhism was brought here from Korea in 552 AD, most Japanese were of the Shinto faith, worshipping the natural world – mountains, rocks, and seas. Often, when a new religion comes to a country, older ones are forgotten over press. But that didn’t happen here. In fact, many Japanese practice both faiths. Intriguing, don’t you think?
Here in Nara, Japanese history is taken very seriously. And the Todai-ji Temple complex is history headquarters. If you’re looking for precious ancient Japanese art, you’ll find more of it here than anywhere else.
The Hall of the Great Buddha is the center of Nara’s Todai-ji Temple complex, and has burned to the ground twice before. The most recent reconstruction was in 1708, and even though it’s only two-thirds the size of its predecessor, it’s still the largest wooden building in the world. And if you ask me, one of the loveliest.