Travel

Nara Day Trip

japanese schoolgirl petting deer in nara park japan

In my previous trip to kansai, I did a half-day trip to Nara, which is a beautiful city, just 42 km south of Kyoto. Nara is just under an hour away from Kyoto/Osaka and most of the attractions are within walking distance, so it’s a doable day trip if you’re visiting the kansai region. In this post I’ll be exploring around Todai-ji temple, Nigatsu-do, Kasuga Taisha, Kofuku-ji temple and Nara park.

 

Nara Japan trip train stationGetting to Nara with train is easy – I took the train on Kinestu Nara Line from Kyoto Station and it took about 40 minutes to reach Kintetsu Nara Station.

 

If you’re traveling from Osaka, you can take the train from Osaka station on the Osaka loop line to Tsuruhashi station, after that you want to change trains on the Kintetsu Nara Line and get off at Kintetsu Nara Station (you should reach Nara under a hour).

 

That half-deer/half-buddha statue is Sento-kun, the official mascot of Nara city. Apparently many folks think it looks ridiculous and “uncute” when compared to the mascots of other prefectures ^^;

 

Grabbing some drinks and foodies at a convenience store before heading out to explore Nara. I’m a big fan of unsweetened tea/coffee (^o^)

 

 

Onigiri with crab fillings. Doesn’t taste as bad as i thought.

 

Also grabbed a pack of salmon bento – looks delicious, nom nom nom.

 

Started exploring Nara by walking along Nobori-oji Street from Kintetsu Nara station. This is where you’ll start to see many of Nara’s famous sacred deer as you go.

 

Nara deers along Nobori-oji streetFirst encounter of the deers at a park.

 

nara deers at a parkThese deers are usually calm and friendly – If you feed them, you will find yourself surrounded and followed by them ^^;

 

alleyway in nara Took a detour into alleyway instead of walking along the main streets.

 

japanese car park in naraCarpark – 200 yen for every 30minutes

 

japan stone statue

path to Todai-ji TemplePath leading to Todai-ji Temple.

 

japan school teacher and nara deer Japan school teacher vs Nara Deer.

 

japanese school girl feeding nara deer Took a lot of photos of students feeding and interacting with these lovely deers.

 

japanese school boys feeding nara deerThe boys seem hesitate to feed the deer.

 

japan nara park senbei seller senbei stall nara japan park 150 yen each You buy those senbei (cookies for deers) for 150 yen a pack. The deers are crazy for these cookies.

 

japanese school girl feeding a deer in nara japanese school girl feeding deers in nara japanese schoolgirl feeding deers According to local tales, these deers were once considered sacred animals and they are designated and protected as national treasures, which explains why they are allowed to roam freely in the public parks.

 

japanese schoolgirl feeding deer japanese schoolgirl and deer at nara park japanese schoolgirl swamped by deers Japanese schoolgirl getting swamped by deers.

 

japanese schoolgirl feeding deers japanese schoolgirl feeding deer japanese schoolgirl petting deerMoar cute interaction between schoolgirls x deer

 

senbei stall in nara park nara deer closeup Closer shot of one of the deers.

 

deers nara park japanese students trip lonely deer at nara parkA lone deer watches as the group of students head towards Todaji temple.

 

nara deer at the fence

gates leading to todaiji temple in nara large wooden statue at gates of todaiji temple lake and wodden boat beside todaiji temple front gates of todaiji temple front view of todaiji temple naraFront view of Todaiji temple. Aside from being historically important, Todaiji Temple is one of the biggest wooden temples in Japan so it’s arguably the biggest sight to see in Nara. Admission fee is 500 yen~

 

japan student trip to todaiji temple in nara bronze bell in front of todaiji temple at nara inside Daibutsuden of todaiji temple in naraSome photos taken at Daibutsuden (main hall of Todaiiji temple).

 

models of former and current buildings of todaiji temple Inside the Daibutsuden, you can find models of former and current buildings of Todaiji temple grounds.

 

models of former and current buildings of todaiji temple giant buddha hand in Daibutsuden todaiji temple nara wooden buddha head statues in Daibutsuden todaiji temple nara
giant buddha statue in todaiji temple

hall pillars with holes in todaiji temple naraInside Daibutsuden there is one pillar which has a hole at the base which is said to be the same size as the nostril on the giant Buddha statue. The students are trying hard to squeeze through the hole – as it is said one would receive the gift of enlightenment in their next life by doing so.

 

hole in oillar of tidaiji templeEveryone got their cameras ready as another student tries hard to get through the hole ^^

 

Heading off to Nigatsu-do hall (二月堂) after visiting Todaiji temple.

 

 stone steps leading up to Nigatsudo Hall Stairway leading up to Nigatsudo Hall.

 

stone latterns at Nigatsudo Hall in nara front view of Nigatsudo Hall in nara The Nigatsudo Hall is a short walk on the hill east of the Daibutsuden Hall and there is a nice view of the city from its balcony.

 

 stone steps of Nigatsudo Hall in nara women praying at Nigatsudo Hall in nara deer under a road sign in naraDeer under a road sign- that smirky face XD

 

temples around nara

lonely deer in nara stacks of stones in nara

Found some random stack of stones – a symbolism of zen/Buddhism?

 

motorcycle in nara park Walking through Nara park to Kasuga Taisha Shrine

 

Deers at Nara park Moar encounters with deers at the park XD

 

deers on the road in nara deers on the roadside in nara lone male deer at nara park male deer at nara park searching for food deer hear shaped butt in naraLovely shaped deer butts <3

 

deer by the mold fence at nara japan 水谷茶屋 Mizuya Tea housetea house in the forest nara水谷茶屋 Mizuya Tea house is a good place to stop for some quick nom noms while enjoying the nice view around here.

 

beautiful green scenery in nara park stacks of ema in nara temple Found a huge stack of Ema at a small shrine.

 

ema blessings at nara temple mold on stone latterns in nara temple group of deers resting on nara temple grounds small shrine in nara stacks of Ema in nara Ema in nara temple

Sony A7ii full frame mirrorless cameraDecided to take a quick rest on a wooden bench. All of the photos you see in this post was shot by my Sony A7ii full-frame mirrorless camera with one lens only – Zeiss 35mm F2.8.

I bought these back in year 2015 on a second-hand deal and it has became my favorite photography kit – it was smaller and lighter then your usual full-frame DSLR kit. Not to mention the image sensor in this camera is incredible too – was able to recover a lot of details from shadows/highlights during post-processing in Adobe Lightroom.

 

Sony RX100II compact cameraAlso brought along my Sony RX100II for my Japan trip. I used to take photos with this camera a lot until I bought the A7ii, now I using this as a backup camera ^^;  For a compact camera, it is rather pricey compared to its competitors but it has outstanding sensor performance and great image quality. Most of my Tokyo trip photos are taken with this amazing tiny camera.

 

Kasuga-taisha Shrine entrance ticket

miko at Kasuga-taisha Shrine nara Moving onto Kasuga-taisha Shrine – its famous for its lanterns which have been donated by its worshipers. Around the temple there are hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns, which made this temple very different from the other temples.

 

Kasuga-taisha Shrine stone latterns

fortune paper at Kasuga-taisha Shrine Deer shaped ema at Kasuga-taisha Shrine I find these deer-shaped Ema very cute – those eyes XD

 

stone lanterns at Kasuga-taisha Shrine row of stone lanterns at Kasuga-taisha Shrine shrine at Kasuga-taisha Shrine bronze lanterns at Kasuga-taisha Shrine

Women in kimono praying at Kasuga-taisha Shrine

Miko at Kasuga-taisha Shrine banners at Kasuga-taisha Shrine three bronze lanterns at Kasuga-taisha Shrine hundred wooden plates of donaters at Kasuga-taisha Shrine Hundreds of wooden plaques with names of donors can be seen near the entrance of the shrine.

 

Wooden donor plaques at Kasuga-taisha shrine in Nara, Japan Wooden donor plaques at Kasuga-taisha shrine in Nara, Japan Wooden donor plaques at Kasuga-taisha shrine in Nara, Japan Tourist feeding Nara deers Exiting Kasuga-taisha Shrine – more tourists feeding more deers.

 

Nara deer signs and warnings Kasuga-taisha Shrine entrance ticket

view of Kofuku-ji Temple in naraManaged to do a quick visit to Kofuku-ji Temple, yet another old temple in Nara. To be honest, it’s probably enough just to walk around the open grounds (no admission fee) since there isn’t much to see here.

 

Shoes getting all dirty and dusty from all the walking around Nara ><

 

Stairs leading to Sarusawa-ike From Kofukuji, you can take the stairs down leading to Sarusawa-ike (pond).

 

Sarusawa-ike, a green-colored pond in Nara, Japan Sarusawa-ike is a man-made, green-colored pond – they say sometimes you can see turtles basking in the sun here.

 

Dagashi, traditional candy shop in Nara, Japan Exploring around Sanjo-dori, these are traditional candy/toy shops.

 

Sanjo-dori in nara, japan toy shop at Sanjo-dori in nara, japanMochi pounding at Nakatanidou 中谷堂 in Nara Mochi pounding action going at Nakatanidou (中谷堂)- a famous mochi shop in Nara. These guys were so fast that they won the previous national high-speed mochitsuki championship (which is a competition for fast mochi-making…seriously). You can see them in action below:


fast mochi making at Nakatanidou in nara fast mochi pounding at Nakatanidou in nara Mochi of Nakatanidou in nara In case if you’re wondering, Mochi is a kind of sweet glutinous rice dessert – very chewy and soft in texture. This mochi in particular was flavored with kinako (roasted soybean flour) and had sweet red bean fillings. Taste so good.

 

Shotengai, shopping street in NaraHeading into a Shotengai (shopping streets) in Nara.

 

souvenir shop in nara japan

Nara deer plushies souvenir ramen eating at Nara
Ramen with various toppings for less than 1000 yen, nom nom nom.

That’s all for my day trip in Nara- obviously there are so much more to explore around Nara (I had to travel to Osaka later that day so I left out a few attractions). Hopefully I’ll be able to visit this beautiful city again in the near future ^^

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