Spending One Day In Nara Japan
.. aka find and pet the deer..
Five years ago I found myself in a country I had dreamed of seeing since I was little. I think we all have that once place we all wanted to see. I was so obsessed I saved all my birthday and Christmas money since I was 9 till finally I had the opportunity to see that beautiful place I had read in text books. Last year I got to revisit the same country that stole my heart, but this time I got to take the love of my life with me!
Out of all the things that surprised me there though was Nara. I’ll be honest with you, I just went there to pet the deer. No it wasn’t the worlds largest bronzed Buddha that motivated me or being able to visits the once capital of Japan. No, I saw that there was cute deer on the internet and I made it my mission to pet them. Little did I know at that time that they weren’t all cute and innocent as they look in photos. In fact they know you have food and will get it!
It was only once I spent one day in Nara did I realize how beautiful it was. How beautiful everything was. Located in the Kansai region not to far from Osaka and Kyoto lays Nara Park. Home not only to countless deer but also home to a 15 metre high bronze statue of the Great Buddha which is displayed in a picturesque wooden hall.
Out of all the temples that made me really feel something I have to say Nara’s Todau-ji Temple really holds a grasp on me. When you walk through the Temple gate you really start to feel just how grand the area was and can almost put yourself back in time. It reeks of age and history and you can feel the soul of the temple as you walk around. I could imagine how it would look hundreds of years ago in such a different time filled with tranquility and beauty.
Since everything is so central in Nara the Todau-ji Temple is an easy 15-20 minute walk away from JR Nara Train Station where you will find the Giant Buddha. You will pass two pagodas called Kofukuji Temple which are both lovely. There will be plenty of photo opportunities for you.
Once you get to the temple grounds walk through the temples large wooden steps and pay a small fee at the entrance. There is no time of year where the temple won’t be beautiful. I have seen it both during fall and spring and hopefully someday in the winter.
And if you want to just pet the deer don’t worry, they are everywhere around the temple. Just grab some “crackers” from the vendors for about 300 yen and take a stroll around the pack. Soon you will have a pack of deer following you. Just be careful with the deer they are known to start stalking you for more treats! And they don’t know when you have run out of cookies. Soooo they will start head butting you and can easily push over little children.
The more you know: Todai-ji’s Daibutsu-den is the largest building in the world. The Buddha statue was originally made in 746 but due to a fire it was ruined. Now the statue is only 2/3 of the original size
If you are feeling hungry there are plenty of great places to eat but I must say after a strict banana and noodle diet I was happy to find pizza at Mellow Cafe (I thought it was meow cafe for the longest time. Wishful thinking). It hit the spot more than you can believeee! There I originally ordered a curry pizza because I am a vegetarian but quickly remembered Japan’s curries have beef in it. Curry should be a safe zone for vegetarians but I got a cheese pizza drizzled in honey instead and it was unreal.
Seriously though as a vegetarian in Japan it is so hard to eat healthy unless you are a master planner which unfortunately.. I am not so if you are a vegetarian check out my Japan Vegetarian Survival Guide and hopefully it will save you from “hanger.”
After a filling meal I recommend wandering around Nara Park and visiting Nara’s smaller temples like Kofuku-ji, Kasuga-taisha. If you are looking for a quieter place to view temples then you should spend the night in Nara and view all it has to offer. Nara also great little shops just outside of the main train station so if you are looking for some goods then do some shopping!
Spending one day in Nara is really perfect. You can make a day trip out of it easily to see the main sights. Having been there twice I can firmly say you will love the deer. If it’s raining will will even walk under your umbrella with you! How cute?!
For more about Japan check out these posts Here and Here! Who else wants to go to Nara and pet the cute deer? Don’t forget to subscribe (to follow my journey around Europe coming up way to soon) or follow my Instagram or Bloglovin!