So close to Kyoto and so much to do, it’s a great place to go. Even if you don’t like temples, the whole atmosphere of the place is great. Watch out for the deer… I was one of them attack a small child, but then that’s what you get for having them in such close proximity to people with millions of people a day stuffing shikasenbei in their faces.over 4 years ago
Nara aka: 奈良Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, and Daibutsuden. Nara is featured on the lists National Geographic Traveler's The New Grand Tour, All 911 UNESCO Heritage Sites, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Places in Nara have been tagged deer and temple.
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I guess it’s because I went during Golden Week (a week when most of the Japanese are on vacation) so it was massively crowded, but my experience in Nara wasn’t that great…
I felt really bad for the deer—they seemed so miserable! They’re always surrounded by people and forced to eat the little biscuits—even when though they’ve had enough. I was really looking forward to petting and feeding the deer myself, but when I saw the number of people forcing the food into their mouth, I just couldn’t bear to do it.
Todaiji was awesome, though.over 5 years ago
We visited Nara as a day trip from Kyoto. Shortly after leaving the station, we walked through the small central business district, and came to Nara’s park. We saw the famous five story pagoda, and herds of the tame deer that roam the park. We then went to the where the daibutsu is housed. This temple is still the largest wooden building in the world, even though the latest version of it from the 1700s is 2/3s the size of the original, which burned down.
After lunch, we then went to Shinyakushiji, which was built in the mid 700s. All but one of the original statues guarding the image of the buddha are still there. The building was in some disrepair when I visited 20+ years ago, and gloomily lit, such that it really felt like it was ancient but decrepit. They have since spruced the place up considerably, and I think it is much nicer. They had a photo of a model of one of the statues painted as it would have appeared 1200+ years ago – I am reminded that I have read that those classic white marble greek statues were also apparently originally brightly painted.
From there we walked back in the sticky heat back to the Nara train station and back to Kyoto.over 5 years ago
You can get a free English-speaking guide here, through the tourist office. They will walk you through Todaiji Temple, and take you to any shops or restaurants you like. Our guide was the wonderful Yoko, she spoke excellent English and was so knowledgeable.
She showed us where to get second-hand kimonos and took us to a restaurant that specialised in Oyster Katsudon. Yum!over 6 years ago
The Daibutsu-den is the largest timber frame building in the world. It houses a 15 meter high Bronze Buddha. I don’t know what inspires more awe it’s beauty or that it was first cast in 750 then recast in 1200.
It was part of my secret four Buddha tour of Japan. Must be seen in context with the Iron Buddha, the Paper Buddha, and Usuki Stone Buddhas.over 7 years ago
It’s the Old Grandmother of Kansai – quiet, likes to keep to itself, but full of history and wonder. And deer. Lots of deer. You are legally obligated, by the way, to get a photo of yourself with one of the deer. I’m pretty sure they won’t let you leave without one…
Be sure to see Todaiji, and see if you could fit into Buddha’s nose!over 7 years ago
All the deer bow. But they’re always asking for a handout. Felt like I was back in San Francisco with homeless deer instead shaking me down for a handout.
This place is great! School kids want to practice English “Very please to meet you!”. Great for taking pictures and soooo much to do.over 7 years ago
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