Japan 2016 : Part 2 – Meeting the Deers in Nara & Kofukuji Temple

This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.

Day two started a little later than planned. Before the trip, I had planned to start early every day, since with sunset at around 5pm, we had limited day light. But almost every day we ended up leaving about 8 am plus, since we were always tired from the night before and also took our time to have a good breakfast.

By the time we reached Kyoto Station, it was past 10am, and were just in time to buy the train to Nara at 10:25am. We took the Kintetsu direct express (JPY 620 one way). If you can, take Kintetsu instead of JR, since the station is much nearer to the tourist district in Nara. This train ride took 45 minutes, there is a more expensive train that takes 35 minutes, costing JPY 1130. Anyway, with our horrible exchange rate, every yen counts.

Along the way, you can see lots of towns and residential areas between the two cities.

Nara, is a rather small city. The tourist district is located on the western side. You probably won’t visit the other side of the city unless you are staying a night here.

(its not a surprise the deer is featured prominently here)

(Kintetsu Nara train station)

From the train station, there is a short stretch to the park. The way is lined with restaurants and shops selling local snacks.

Even before you reach Nara Park, you will see the deers. There are thousands of deers around this massive park. There are deers on the grass, on the road, in the shops, in the shade, every where. Most of them are well behaved, they know how to use the pedestrian crossing (even some Malaysians don’t know this). They also bow to you if you bow first, but make sure you have food to offer them, or else…

(for public safety, their antlers are cut off)

The deers are considered sacred here, so I guess venison isn’t on the menu in this city. The only thing you should feed the deer are these cookies sold everywhere. And where they are sold are where the deers congregate.

(JPY 150 for 10 pieces)

You’ll see them everywhere, so you’ll have many more chances to feed and play with them. And be careful where you step, there’s basically deer poop everywhere.

All the historic attractions are within the huge Nara Park and within walking distance. The park looks beautiful in autumn, and towards the south, there’s a lake.

First stop is Kofukuji Temple. The main temple was under renovation when we were there, so we walked around the complex taking photos.

There is also a small museum but we didn’t go in since no pictures were allowed.

Next – Exploring historic Nara.

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