Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nara Celebrates Its 1300th Anniversary

Until around 600 CE, Japan did not have a set capital. We don't know for sure because the Japanese had no written language until they were exposed to Chinese by Buddhist monks who had come across the Sea of Japan from southern Korea. Among the monks' ideas was that of a capital city and Nara was one of the first.

This year, Nara is celebrating its 1,300th anniversary. It has reconstructed the eighth-century palace that was leveled when, upon the death of the emperor, the capital was moved to Kyoto in 784 CE. The government has also built a life-size replica of a ship that carried Japanese envoys to and from Tang China.

So this is a good year to visit Nara. You can check out the New York Times story. This is, after all, the city with the largest wooden building in the world that houses a bronze buddha that is larger than the one in Kamakura, the Daibutsu in the Todaiji.

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