This bronze statue of Buddha is housed in the main building at Todai-ji, which is itself the largest wooden building in the world. When the temple was first built in the 700s, it required the labor of more than two million people and nearly bankrupted Japan. I love the faded reds and turquoise of the wooden pillars, the soft gold color of the carvings behind the Buddha, and the fact that the age of the building is not concealed beneath layers of glossy new paint as it would be in China. (I’m thinking about Youning Si, among others.) If it hadn’t been for my little brother’s recommendation, we might have skipped Nara entirely. I’m so glad we didn’t — this was my favorite temple of the trip.