Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan in 710. It moved later to Nagaoka and then to Kyoto. It was one of the best places I have been to in Japan, right after Kyoto. Not only because of the picturesque scenery and temples but also because of free-roaming deer that you could meet on every corner.
I loved it so much that when I got a chance to revisit it yet again in 2019, I jumped on board right away. Thanks to that I managed to see Nara both during spring and autumn, and in both seasons the scenery looked breathtaking.
Feed the deer!
I have spent most of my time in Nara Park trying to feed deer:) Deer were once believed to be messengers of the gods, and therefore they are allowed to wander around everywhere undisturbed. I have spent most of my day, buying special rice crackers, feeding the animals, and taking pictures.
Deer are only allowed to eat those special crackers. In many places, you could buy them just for 150 ¥. The downside of it was that the second they noticed I had food in my hands, I got instantly surrounded by the whole pack until they ate it all. Funnily enough, deer did not believe I do not have more. Not until I showed them both hands empty 😀 Then they just went away!
But I found a way to make the fun last longer 🙂 The second I bought the food, I hid all except one piece in the backpack and was taking one cracker at a time.
Another cool thing about deer is that they are so well-behaved!!! When I bent my head in a bow, they responded with a bow back! And then they got a cracker 😀 Yeah; it took me a while to get a picture where we both bow to each other. But so much fun!
Some of the deer was also super smart. They knew which spots are picturesque, so they stood in that place and got all selfie-hungry tourists to come to them and feed them. I was laughing so hard when I noticed it.
But they were also mischievous! One of them photobombed me when I was talking to my mom on Skype and then ate my ticket!! Little thief! 😀
It was a lot of fun walking around, and looking at how they tried to get into shops and got kicked out with a broom:D Or just pushed by the butt.
There are many different temples all around Nara. I would love to visit more, but, let’s face it, the deers preoccupied me and I didn’t manage to see much. When I was researching online, I have tried to find temples and shrines that are one way or another unique.
A small hike up the hill will reward you with this impressive shrine. Kasuga – Taisha is known for hundreds of lanterns donated by worshipers. Already while approaching the shrine through the forest, I was surrounded by many stone lanterns. And cute deers, trying to get the cookies from me 🙂 Upon entering the grounds, I was blown away. I discovered hundreds of bronze laters all around, surrounding the temple grounds. It was such a great sight for pictures!!
This shrine was also the first one to be registered by UNESCO as one of Ancient Nara’s historical monuments.
For more history, click on the link.
This temple is the oldest wooden building in the world! Founded in 607, it managed to survive until now! The temple is another one that is listed on the UNESCO list.
For more info, click on the link.
I, unfortunately, did not make it there but I saw a lot of recommendations online.