Amazing landscapes dotted with beautiful, ancient shrines and animal adventures are my favorite things in Japan. In Nara all of this comes together and makes for one of the best possible places to visit on your Japan trip.
Nara is a city in the Kansai region of Japan. If you find yourself in either Kyoto or Osaka, Nara is the perfect day trip. From either starting point, it is about an hour away by train.
Because Nara used to be the capital of Japan (during the — wait for it — Nara Era), the city has some of the most incredible, ancient shrines in all of Japan. Of all of the places I have visited in Japan, Toudaiji Temple is among the most impressive, both in beauty and in scale.
One of the great things about visiting Nara, in comparison to Kyoto, is how spread out everything is. In fact, if you only have a short time in Japan and only have one day for visiting shrines and temples, I would pick Nara over Kyoto every time — especially if you are averse to crowds. In addition to temples and shrines there are also multiple gardens to explore. sake breweries, and great hiking all throughout Nara.
The best part, for me anyway, are the hordes and hordes of deer that you will find yourself surrounded by. Be careful of these creatures — if you are not looking and have food anywhere on your person, you are likely to be surrounded and bullied.
Along the sidewalks and paths you will see many stalls that are selling crackers for the deer. Good luck taking your time and trying to enjoy a peaceful meeting with mother nature. As soon as you have your cookies out, you will be surrounded if you are not careful.
My handful of crackers were gone in a few short seconds.
If you are in the mood for mixing traditional Japan with an animal adventure stopping in Nara is an absolute must on your next trip!
Want to learn some basic Japanese in preparation for your trip to Japan? Learn Japanese With Rhyme with the ‘Let’s Go to Nihon!’ children’s book series! Both ebook and paperback copies are available on Amazon.