Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Treasures of Japan- Temples Of Nara

Kujo (Fujiwara) Kanezane was a nobleman and statesman in the 12th century and, in cooperation with the first shogun at Kamakura, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, led the government in Kyoto. Kujo is also famous for writing a diary called Gyokuyo, which provides us with precise records of those days. From the 25th day, 2nd month, 3rd year of the Angen era (March 26, 1177 by the Julian calendar) to the next day, he took his daughter for her first visit to Kasuga Shrine and other temples in Nara. In his diary, he wrote about an event during the visit as follows.

On our way to the shrine, many deer appeared in the morning darkness. This is a sign from the gods and a good omen. People say that when one encounters deer, he or she should get out of the carriage and bow to them.

— From Gyokuyo by Kujo Kanezane.

It is freaky but 900 years later if you have a piece of biscuit in your hands the deers will bow at you politely asking to be fed.

Date of Inscription: 1998
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Nara Prefecture
N34 40 32 E135 50 22
Ref: 870

Brief Description
Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture. The city's historic monuments – Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the excavated remains of the great Imperial Palace – provide a vivid picture of life in the Japanese capital in the 8th century, a period of profound political and cultural change.

Justification for Inscription
Criterion (ii): The historic monuments of ancient Nara bear exceptional witness to the evolution of Japanese architecture and art as a result of cultural links with China and Korea which were to have a profound influence on future developments. Criterion (iii): The flowering of Japanese culture during the period when Nara was the capital is uniquely demonstrated by its architectural heritage. Criterion (iv): The layout of the Imperial Palace and the design of the surviving monuments in Nara are outstanding examples of the architecture and planning of early Asian capital cities. Criterion (vi): The Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of Nara demonstrate the continuing spiritual power and influence of these religions in an exceptional manner.

Dec 2, 1998 UNESCO World Heritage Committee Adds 30 Sites to World Heritage List
May 31, 2007 Torch-Run Concert for World Heritage
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection

Kasuga Taisha Shrine -a heritage site since 1998

This is the most famous shrine in Nara, with its large tabernacle painted in beautiful vermilion. The god of the shrine is worshiped as a provider of good fortune and protector of travelers. There are lines of stone lanterns along the front approach and bronze lanterns are hung along the cloister. At the Homotsu-den (treasury) various items are exhibited, including national treasures and important cultural properties. hn

The Kasuga Shrine (Japanese: 春日大社, Kasuga-taisha) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. Established in 768 A.D. and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.

The architectural style Taisha-zukuri takes its name from the Kasuga Shrine.

Kasuga Shrine, and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest near the shrine, are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

The enchanting path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park (where tame deer roam free). Over a thousand stone lanterns line the way. The Manyo Botanical Garden, Nara is adjacent to the shrine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

World Heritage List

The World Heritage List includes 878 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.

These include 679 cultural , 174 natural and 25 mixed properties in 145 State Parties. I hope to visit as many of these sites as possible in my lifetime