Aikido Trip to Japan Fall 2003.

After the milk run trip to Osaka (pop. 2.48million) we arrive in Kansai Airport at the same time as everyone else! This was most fortunate since we would have had quite the time finding the proper connection to Shin-Osaka to get to our Hotel - Chi San.

Breakfast at Chi-San Hotel (Walter, Wanda, Peter, Cecil, Sharon, Pat, Rob, John and Hilary)

The rooms were very efficient as well. Note the modular bathroom, the rest of the room was not much bigger. What do you need anyway!

The first day we took the Mido-suji subway line to Namba Station,

to shop in the Shinbaisashi shopping district!

The side streets were filled with more shops. Notice the power lines strewn from the poles along this street... Lots of bikes too!

We saw many folding bikes as well as the classic cruiser!

A lot of people commute by Bike in Japan, which makes sense if you see the traffic... streets and crowded subways. They are not too concerned with Helmets or lycra either! Pretty lousy geometry for much else though...

It is highly unadvisable to try to hop a curb on these bikes... Wade Simmons might be able to do it, but not me...

After a couple of days the group amassed and our journey began. Since this trip involved a lot of sight seeing and learning about the history of Japan or first trip was to Nara. Nara was the first capital of Japan established in 710. It is home to many Buddhist Temples. The ones we visited were;

Horyu-ji Temple

The oldest temple in Japan, this temple was founded in 607 by Prince Shotoku - the patron saint of Japanese Buddhism.

Chumon - Central Gate

The Statues of Nio (two kings), installed in the East and West Bays were carved in 711.

Goju-no-to - 5 Storied Pagoda. 105 feet tall.

Pagoda means "Grave" in Pali, the ancient Indian Language. The Pagoda is the Grave of Buddha.

Daikodo - Great Lecture Hall.

After burning down in 925, it was later rebuilt in 990.

As we drove to the next Temple you could see the Rice Fields dotted between the residential as well as industrial buildings. Gotta love that subsidization!

Yakushi-ji Temple

Built in 680 by the Emperor Temmu to pray for the recovery of his Empress. Unfortunately he died before it was complete. He was then succeeded by the Empress who finished the structure.

East or probably West Pagoda since it was rebuilt in 1980 after burning down in 1528. The East Pagodas survived the fire.

Outlying building

Todai-ji Temple

Founded in 728 for Crown Prince Motoi, son of Emporer Shomu (724-749), Todai-ji was the cheif temple of the time - the center for rituals, peace of the nation and prosperity of the people. It was also the center for the training of monks studying Buddhism at the time.

The Great Buddha Hall. Originally built in the Nara period it has been rebuilt twice following destruction by fire - 1180 and 1567. This is the largest wooden structure in the world - 57.012 meters wide, 50.48 meters long and 48.742 meters high.

Ni-o (Two Kings) guard the Great South Gate. Measuring 8.4 meters high, they were built in 1203.

The Great Buddha - Vairocana Buddha

Next stops Dojo-ji, Shirahama, Mt Gomadansen and Koya-san




Beppu - Hell