Historical and cultural places -3

The ancient city of Nara was the capital of Japan for about seventy years, starting in the early eighth century. With its many shrines, Buddhist temples, statues of Buddha, carvings and paintings, it is rich in National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets.

Particularly famous are Nara’s Todai Temple with its 16.21-meter-high(53.18 feet)statue of Buddha(dedicated in the year 752 and renovated several times since), Kofuku Temple with its five-storied pagoda facing the beautiful pond called Sarusawa-no-ike, and Kasuga Shrine with its many tame deer which are allowed to roam free. Todai Temple also has the Shoso-in, a wooden treasure-house with a special construction(called azekura)which is resistant to moisture, Stored in this are more than nine thousand items, including fine art objects which belonged to the emperor of that time, Todai Temple treasures and manuscripts of the Nara period, plus items which came from countries such as China and Persia.

As far as assembling the cream of Buddhist art goes, Nara National Museum is without peer in Japan.

On the outskirts of Nara is Horyu Temple, the world’s oldest wooden structure still in existence. Also the nearby Asuka district Great Buddha, Todai-ji was where the culture of Japan flowered around the sixth and seventh centuries, and as such was the cradle of Japanese Buddhism; in this area can be found Imperial mausolea, burial mounds and historical relics.

One such place is Takamatsuzuka, which became famous when a tumulus with brilliantly colored wall paintings was discovered in 1972.

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日本の歴史や文化を知る観光地-3】

 奈良は、8世紀に約70年間続いた古都である。神社、仏閣、仏像、彫刻、絵画など国宝や重要文化財の宝庫である。

 高さ16.21m(53.18フィート)の有名な奈良の大仏(752年開眼、その後度々修復)がある東大寺や、五重塔が猿沢池に美しい影をうつす興福寺、更 に放し飼いの鹿が沢山いる春日神社などが特に有名である。また、東大寺に正倉院という特殊な防湿構造(校倉「あぜくら」造りという。)の木造倉庫がある。 ここには、当時の天皇の遺愛品、東大寺の寺宝・文書など奈良時代の美術品のほか、中国やペルシャなどからの伝来品9,000余品が収められている。

 奈良国立博物館は、仏教美術の粋を集めている点で日本第一である。

 奈良近郊には、現存する世界最古の木造建築である法隆寺がある。また、隣接する飛鳥地方は、6〜7世紀頃、日本文化の開花した地方で、日本仏教の発祥地でもあり、天皇の御陵や古墳・史跡などが点在している。

 1972年に、極彩色の壁画が発見されて有名になった高松塚古墳もこの一角にある。

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