Nara is the first permanent capital of Japan which dates back to the year 710. It is bordered by Kyoto to the north and Osaka to the west. It can be accessed by train from both cities for just around an hour. So if you are planning to visit Kansai, consider a day trip to this laidback city which is cradle to some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples and freely-roaming sika or deer. The Japanese believe that these deer came from heaven and are said to be protecting the city.
A deer carving on the stone lantern in Kasuga-taisha | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
One of the fun things to do is feeding the deer at Nara Park. Tourists feed them with senbei or cracker which is sold around the park premises. Some children chase them with much delight while the other kids burst into a loud cry at the sight of them. Some of the deer are quite shy and there are also friendly ones who would eat the senbei from your hand. It was one of the simple joys I had experienced in Japan. Here are some photos of our encounter with the deer of Nara Park.
A friendly deer at Todai-ji | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
This shy deer peeks from the stone lanterns of Kasuga-taisha | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
Tourist feeding a sika at Kasuga-taisha | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
I was scared to feed this deer at first, but we got along well after. | Image credit: Salve Elizon
Blue-eyed deer | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
My friend enjoying the company in Todai-ji | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
A tourist and a deer in Todai-ji | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
Someone got bored while waiting for deer crackers | Image credit: Wanders of Eve
And somebody got full that he laid still so I can have a good picture | Image credit: Salve Elizon
While in Nara Park, you can also visit other sites within its premises like Todai-ji Temple which houses Daibutsu, one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha. Nearby is Kasuga-taisha, a shrine famous for its stone and bronze lanterns.
Nara is a breath of fresh air. Bask in its laid back vibe after indulging yourself in the metropolis like Osaka.