Nara is a one hour train ride away from Kyoto and well known for its shrines, temples and deer… and there are hundreds of deer, all freely roaming around Nara park.
Legend states a god enshrined in Kasuga-taisha Shrine came to Nara riding on a white deer and the Manyo-shu confirms there have been deer in Nara park since 750! That’s a really long time! The deer are now seen as national treasures due to being wild animals seen in town.
Although the deer are wild most of them are friendly and really sweet, the baby deer especially! We spent a hour watching the deer and a lovely Japanese girl shared her deer crackers with me, so I got to feed them too!
Apparently September & October is the mating season and male deer fight each other to keep their territories. It’s a pity we only realised this after Sam found himself in the middle of a deer fight. I somehow managed to capture this:
THE funniest thing to happen so far on our trip. Good job the deer’s antlers had been removed!!
After Sam’s traumatic deer experience we went in search of a temple. We’ve seen our fair share of shrines and temples on our trip so far with plenty more to come, so decided just to visit the Todai-ji temple. We chose this temple mainly because we wanted to see the big Buddha! The temple doesn’t look overly special from the outside but once inside the grounds it’s stunning. Beautiful green lawns with a paved path leading up to the entrance.
Looking out of the doors towards the exit a fire is burning where you can light incense sticks.
We walked through the old town on our way back to the station. It’s so pretty with lots of small narrow streets filled with traditional Japanese buildings.
Even the drain covers are pretty!
We really enjoyed our day exploring Nara and Sam has just about recovered from his traumatic encounter! He still insists he won that fight… I’m not so sure!