If you’re planning a trip to Nara then chances are it’s because you saw pictures of the deer and heard you can play with them. No judgment! It’s awesome. I’ve never seen my boyfriend laugh so hard and get so excited about something; I think he bought almost 50 bunches of cookies to feed them in the 3 days we were there.
It’s easy to spend a full day in Nara checking out the temples and hanging out with the friendly deer. It’s also a perfect day trip if you’re short on time since everything is so close together. Near Nara Park you buy cookies from little vendors which are 100 yen and then prepare to be mauled by deer. As soon as you start feeding one be prepared to be flanked by more to the point where you’re surrounded on all sides and being chased because they know you have more cookies. Why? They’ve done this before and know that when you put your hands behind your back you are hiding said cookies and will head butt you, gently, till you surrender the cookies.
Besides being home to greedy deer, Nara is also home to Tōdaiji, “Great Eastern Temple” which houses Daibutsuden, also known as the Big Buddha Hall. It’s the world’s largest wooden building, despite the fact that it is only two thirds of the original temple size and the Buddha residing inside is the largest enclosed bronze Buddha in the world. It is immaculate and breathtaking to be beside something so enormous and beautiful. When you walk into the building you can feel the history and age seeping from it.
Another place to go to is Kasuga Taisha, the city’s more celebrated shrine which is famous for the bronze and stone lanterns. Unfortunately, for the second time around I have missed this for no other reason than I was busy playing with deer and looking for food.
There is also a cute little shopping strip right outside the train station that offers lots of restaurants, vintage stores and souvenir shops. If you can’t decide what to do next in Nara it’s quite fun to just sit in the deer park and simply watch people get chased by deer. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so..
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