During our stay in Kyoto (Part I, Part II) we dedicated a complete day to visit Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is 44 minutes away in train (JR Nara Line Rapid Service)
Although Nara has 8 temples and shrines as well as some ancient ruins and a lovely traditional area, it is more known for its deers :) I won’t blame its fame as it was one of the things that most attracted us to visit Nara in the first place!
We had read about the deers and the temple complex, so we thought it was going to be something similar to Nikko, which is a rather small town with the huge temple complex on top of it. Nara looks a lot bigger than Nikko, the first impression is that you are in fact in a city not a town, and that you will have to walk a lot to get there. Well, the walk is not so long, but it is certainly a city feeling; they even have a huge Information Center in the street that leads to the temple complex.
When we stopped in the Information Center we were complimented with a map of the area, and recommended to visit also the traditional areas of the city. The enchanting lady in the center complained that lots of visitors only came to Nara for the temples but they missed a beautiful city center that could compete with Kyoto in beauty (she was an enthusiast of the city!). As you will see in our last pictures, we took her advice and visited the city as well, lovely stores (a little overpriced) and houses.
The complex of Nara is a big one, so be prepared to walk between temples a lot more than in Nikko, which is more compact. Given that we are very slow visitors (we stop to take pictures all the time :P) we decided that it was best to skip the National Museum (too crowded) and to choose 2 places to visit: the Todai-ji temple and the Kasuga-taisha shrine, to then simply enjoy the walk between them.
The Todai-ji is one of those visits that, although it is completely packed with people around, it leaves you out of breath. The building holds the largest Buddha of Japan (inside a temple) and its presence is incredible; there is not any picture that can show how it is to be standing next to the figure, so we are not including our attempts here :)
The walk to the Kasuga-taisha shrine gives you a hint of what you will find; the lanterns are everywhere. While in the path there are stone lanterns, inside the temple the lanterns become smaller, metallic and are hanging from the ceilings. The thousands of bronze lamps along the corridors of the shrine are only lit twice a year at the Setsubun Mantoro in February and the Obon Mantoro in August. It must be an amazing sight! If any of you have experienced it, please tell! :)
Hope you enjoy our Nara pictures and forgive our deer madness! :)
Deers in Nara run freely along all the complex, wherever they like, as they are believed to be the sacred messengers of gods.
The Todai-ji temple is very impressive with the giant golden horns on top
Two beautiful couples dressed in traditional clothes for their visit to the temple. Can you spot the iphone in one girl’s hand? The perfect Japanese combination of modern and traditional :)
The deer headbands were a blast among the visitors
I missed one for myself, so I had to arrange an alternative
We bought the yummiest sweet potato, but we did not expect the “adverse” result: its price 10€ per piece, and every deer chasing us for food :)
We couldn’t resist to buy a cookie pack to feed the deer. Dani had his eye on that little one.
Chased by deers, no complains here :)
A store-restaurant, in the traditional city center of Nara, that only sold cat related products!
A pet store with the cutest wood sign.
Omg c’est juste super adorable; tu as tellement de chance… Tu n’est resté qu’à Kyoto? J’aimerai tellement faire ce voyage…
Les photos sont superbes!
Merci pour ton gentil commentaire! We also visited Tokyo and a little country town called Ainokura. You can check all our adventures in Japan clicking here :) You must definitely visit Japan, we loved it!
my gosh your pictures are so stunning i can’t get enough! and deers are so cute! i think i would’ve taken one too many pictures of them if i was there!
Thanks!!! We have way more deer pics but we had to restrain ourselves to publish all of them for the post ;) ;)
As always… I love these photos!
Nadia from The Life In A Year
Hooray, more Japan pictures! These are so good, I was going to say the one with the vending machines was my favourite, and then the next came… and the one after that… and well, you know… everything after that. I haven’t been able to visit Nara yet, but it’s definitely on my list for my next Japan trip (uncertain when that will be, but I will go!!).
The cat-shop is so cute! Oh and I think I need to follow you guys on instagram. Those pictures are neat. :)
:) :) Thank you! This will be the last location post of Japan :( we are planning on a couple of more theme-related ones to end the series. Hope your next trip to Japan is near! ♥
Oh Nara! This is a spot we missed but we are going to definitely go to when we go back. You photos are so wonderful, and those little deer headbands are adorable!! Even though your improvised one is much cuter :D
It was so nice to see some of the interesting aspects of the Japanese culture such as playfulness & dressing up (deer headbands on the girls); pet shops (the bigger your pet dog the richer you are in Japan – people’s home are quite small); soda machines that probably sell green tea (I will have to check that photo again); the modern combined with conservative (you were so right to notice the cell phone in the girl’s hand who was dressed up in a traditional style kimono); you can see the waving its hand cat image a lot ( if I am not mistaken that is originally Chinese); showing the peace sign; colorfully dressed little children (I could not take my eyes off them when we were in Japan). xxx
Ahh Nara is lovely isn’t it! The deers were so cute but scared me because they were aggressive when they saw I had food…actually I’m a scaredy cat so they were probably werent that aggressive :P I want to go to that cat store!!! Amazing pictures as always :)
BTW Which did you like better Nikko or Nara? I like Nara for the deers but I think Nikko is very pretty with all it’s surrounding forests :)
That’s a hard question! :) I think I have to go with Nikko for the forest and the craving details in the temples. However, both have their own charm. In Nara my favorite part was near the Kasuga-taisha with the lanterns covered with moss. Dani can’t still decide for one better than the other (guys… hahaha)
I get that you got scared I was as well when they chased us non-stop while eating the sweet potato :)
okay, your blog is unfairly beautiful. i have just fallen in love!
oh my goodness! what beautiful photos! really what a beautiful place, i hope i get to visit someday!
at this volume
wow, these are such beautiful photos! one of my best friends visited japan and nara a few months ago and i was so jealous of her photos with the deer! they’re so cute and seem so friendly. i’d love to go to japan one day.
little henry lee
lovely blog/photos :)
These pictures are fantastic. I love Japan. –Hanna Marie
Nice shoots!!! ;)
Gràcies Gerard! :) Per cert, merci per tot el que ens vas portar, estava boníssim! :)
WOW this temple looks absolutely amazing!! what an awesome experience to visit Japan. and all the deer in this garden just make it all the more spectacular. beautiful pics, I esp. love the pics you got of the little kids.
I went there before and catch some footage of deer chasing a girl , so funny!
very awesome pictures. I love the style of your pictures and the beauty that they capture. Thanks for sharing!
Caris, thank you so much! Nara is a must visit in Japan, so beautiful!
This is Dani, Juno & Damaris.
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