Kobe and Nara

The ship docked conveniently downtown and next to a light rail service. On the first morning we opted to walk the 30-Minutes to Sannomiya station in order to activate our JR rail passes and book our seats and trips for when we disembark on Sunday. We then hopped on a rapid rail train (not a bullet) for Nara via Osaka.

(1) An elevator car park with turntable (2) street in Kobe (4) colorful vending machine

Markings on the station platform that everyone dutifully observes.

Nara Park, on the north end of the city, contains most of the treasured and ancient buildings from 5he time that Nara was the capital. Back then, in 710, it was known as Heijo-kyo (citadel of peace) and was one of Asia’s most splendid cities. The city was at the far eastern end of the Silk Route and was an important Buddhist mecca.
The grand Todaji temple was constructed in 752 to house Nara’s great Buddha and to cement the position of the city as the capital and powerful center of Buddhism.
The park is also home to hundreds, if not thousands, of very tame deer who are completely at home with the locals and tourists and pose very kindly for selfie shots!
Kofuku-ji temple was founded in 669. Of the 175 original buildings, only precious few remain. The five storey pagoda burned to the ground at least five times, but the current one dates from 1426.

Unfortunately, due to warmer than usual Spring weather in Japan, the cherry blossoms peaked about two weeks ago; luckily we are able to find a few stragglers!
We walked back to the train station via a semi-pedestrian shopping street that had some interesting windows and was great for people watching.

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