Nara is a mountain town where hundreds of friendly deer roam free! Along with Kurama-dera, Nara was my favourite place in Japan that I visited.
Travelling to Nara from Osaka
Nara is a very easy daytrip from Osaka. I had to be back before 5pm for work, so I took the train early in the morning. In total it took about an hour from the center of Osaka.
The train ride was beautiful - passing through forests, hills and towns - and the weather was nice and sunny.
Nara is a small town and the train station is very near the deer park and all the tourist attractions - so very easy to get around once you arrive.
Getting off the train, the first things I saw were very touristy. First I passed some of the usual shopping streets and markets (mostly closed, as I was there quite early).
Then I walked around the Kofuku-Ji temples and pagodas - as they were right next to the train station. They were beautiful but getting crowded already, so I left quickly.
Walking out of Kofuku-Ji, I entered the Nara Park and immediately saw some deer! I was happy as that was the main reason I came here :)
There were a lot more deer than I imagined - the park was huge and I just saw more of them as I walked further. They approached everyone looking for food, and quickly lost interested if you didn't have any. They were still friendly tho, and some even let me pet them!
Obviously they were all really cute :)
After hanging out with the deer for a while, I decided to explore the park and the hill above it.
I briefly checked out the famous temple in the park, again that was way too crowded for my taste. It had a pretty garden though.
And of course I treated myself to a matcha soft serve from one of the many stands :)
After walking around the garden, I took a path that went under a big Tori gate, then into the forest and up. It led me to another set of temples. There were less people up here. The temples were smaller, quieter, and covered in beautiful moss :)
After walkng around Nara Park, I found a trail that went into the forest and to the top of the hill. I took the trail without hesitation since I love being in the forest so much :)
I spent about 30 minutes of walking up the easy path - and constantly stopping to take pictures of moss, leaves, trees, and little creatures.
The path led me to an opening and I was suddenly at the top of the hill, looking to the city of Nara below me! The weather was perfect and the view was beautiful. The deer were here as well. That moment was one of the highlights of my trip to Japan :)
I sat on the grass, in the warm sun, admiring the view and just relaxing for a while. Unfortunately soon it was time to start going back.
I decided to take a different path on the way back. It was the scenic one and I got to enjoy lots of beautiful views to the surrounding hills and forests.
I had a short break at the magical-looking house above (actually a restaurant) before walking to the station and taking the train back to Osaka.
Nara was magical and I hope I will come back here in the future :)