TRAVEL NARA: Nara Park, Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha

by - Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hello! I’m back with another travel post. I wanted my Nara photos to show the exact same feeling I felt when I was there and I hope these photos can do justice to it. It was a very calming city.

It’s so simple, so solemn, I wonder how the people were able to maintain its peacefulness even though it’s fairly a crowded and famous tourist spot.

Nara, being the ancient capital of Japan, boasting with 8 UNESCO Heritage Sites, it is definitely a place in Japan you shouldn't miss. I'm glad I was able to include this in my itinerary.

How To Get There
I stayed in Osaka area for most of this trip and if you are coming from Yodoyabashi like I did, you may ride the train through the KINTETSU NARA LINE. I took the train from Osaka-Namba station to Kintetsu Nara station, the ride took me roughly 40 minutes (¥560). There are so many ways to get to Nara from Osaka but I highly recommend taking the train through the Kintetsu Nara Line as it has the cheaper and shorter ride. I find Hyperdia very useful for this trip!

Nara Bus 1-Day Pass
Arriving in Nara, my first agenda was to get the Nara Bus 1-Day Pass. Just like the bus pass in Nagoya and Kyoto, the Nara 1-day Pass allows you to ride the sightseeing bus unlimited times for that whole day. These Nara buses stop at different famous sightseeing spots including Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, and more. I got my bus pass from KINTETSU NARA Bus Information Center located just right across Kintetsu Nara Station.

Nara Park
Nara Park is a wide city park filled with deers. It is open 24 hours and is always free of charge for everyone. Nara Park also houses many of Nara's main attractions. From Nara Park you can easily reach Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha on foot. Although, I'd recommend going to Kasuga Taisha by bus as it took me almost 30 minutes of walking to reach Kasuga Taisha. (Talk about cardio!)

These are just some of the deers you'll see in this travel post. I swear! Haha

You can feed the deers with Japanese thin crackers called "Sembei" which are sold around the park. Most of the deers in Nara are moderately tame but some of them are really hungry so brace yourself to be persistently followed by a bunch of them. ^.^

Here's a story, I'm actually not big on eating heavy breakfast so I usually just grab my coffee and off I go but I knew this day was going to be a long day so I packed in some onigiri just in case I get hungry on the way. I was walking in the park on my way to Todaiji when I noticed a huge wave of deers following me, I tried to ignore it, well, I tried to run away from them and guess what?! they ran towards my direction too (wrong move haha).

It baffled me because I hardly interacted with them nor gave them anything, then one deer finally caught up on me and poked my bag. There! I realized I have food in my bag. It was all my onigiri's fault! Haha

Todaiji Temple
Along the way to Todaiji Temple stands this large old wooden gate called "Nandaimon".

Say you only have limited time and have to pick only one temple to visit in Nara, the Todaiji Temple is your best bet! Todaiji Temple has one of Japan's largest bronze Buddha statues. This 15-meter tall statue of Buddha is then housed in the world's largest wooden building, never mind the fact that this building is actually just a reconstructed version of the original one. (Just imagine how humongous the real building back then)

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site - achievement unlocked!

Attention to detail

Another famous attraction in Todaiji Temple is the hole in one of the pillars in the hall. It is believed that anyone who can pass through this opening will be granted enlightenment in their next life. I was traveling alone and the awkward introvert in me stopped me from trying this out. I vow to try to squeeze into this hole next time if ever I travel to Nara with someone! Haha #letsmakethishappen

Kasuga Taisha

Spotted some more deers on my way up to Kasuga Taisha ^.^

A Torii
Kasuga Taisha is located near the woods dotted with even more small shrines dedicated to gods and deities. There was a private ceremony, I believe it was a wedding ceremony, so I was not able to get inside the main shrine but hey I was able to finish the long path of small shrines in the woods!

It still feels surreal to be actually walking inside a woods filled with old huge trees, deers roaming around, and the birds chirping. It all felt like I was in a movie. We don't have this in where I come from (at least from where I was born). I grew up in the city and its noise and hustle are all what feel home to me for most of life. Never knew how nature can easily connect with you, with anyone, with me. Ancient Japan (Kyoto and Nara) never fails to amaze me!

Keychains from Osaka (Universal Studios), Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Taisha), Nara (Todaiji Temple's Giant Buddha).

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