I’d like to find breakfast before going but I’m not having any luck. There’s a train to catch. It’s a short ride to Nara so no pressure if you miss the train. At the train station I find some delicious and adorable treats. Look!
On the train I observe two women, friends. One is already on and the other boards at a different station. They’re relieved that their meeting worked out. They distribute snacks they packed and drink a something from a squeeze tube bottle. They talk quietly but excited for their day together. They giggle like school girls despite being much older.
In Nara, I’m staying at ML International Hostel right across from the train station but still within walking distance of the temples. I’m on the upper floor where there’s one large dorm along with a small kitchen and dining area. Not sure what the other floor looks like.
I eat the cute apple pastry as I look over a map, wondering where to start. In the end, I shrug my shoulders and just begin. I walk the main street towards the temples. The crowd thickens as I get closer. I always thought Nara would be more rural with the deer and all. No one talks about the city at all. There’s an old town section as well in the opposite direction.
Here I am at the first stop–Kofukuji Temple! There’s no deer here and I wonder where they are hiding. I imagine them to be everywhere.
Of course the deer are not that far away. After walking around Kofukuji Temple, I continued on to Nara park, where at last, I spot the deer. Some of the deer are pretty chill, just hanging out minding their own business. Other deer however are a different story, as you can tell by the sign. I’m quite amused.
After some people and deer watching, I continue on to Todaiji Temple, the other main attraction of Nara. The deer are the most popular. 😉
And here’s the main hall, Daibutsuden, where one of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue is housed. There are many other amazing statues inside too. Plus, you’ll find a line of people. Childern and adults wait for their turn to try fitting through a hole within one of the pillars. It’s said if you’re able to fit through, you will discover enlightenment. Naturally, I got in line. I mean how can you not participate? When in Rome and all that… I don’t have a photo of myself but I did make it through! Such fun!
That last one is outside the temple near the entrance. It’s believed that if you rub a part of the statue and the same spot on your body, it will cure your aliment. He looks creepy though, like I’ve seen him in some RPG.
It’s a good time to stop for lunch. Normally I wouldn’t want to eat somewhere within a tourist attraction but there’s no other option. I spot a small place with several people already inside. It’s mostly noodles so I go with that. Yum!
I keep walking to higher grounds to Nigatsudo Hall. There’s a school group exploring the place and how can you not? The views are fantastic.
I end up walking back down where I find a few guys painting. There’s an interesting path going up hill so I follow that and find myself walk behind Nigatsudo Hall. The path continues and breaks off to other small shrines and temples. There’s a few deer around too.
I come out to a main road with shops and the usual items. To the left is a field leading up to Mount Wakakusayama. I don’t walk up to the top but rest instead, watching people and deer.
The sun is sitting low and I must feed the deer!
I exit through the main path of Kasuga Taisha. So many lanterns! I look up on my phone (Yay, free wifi spots in Japan!) if they light the lanterns at night. Alas it’s only for holidays. It must be so beautiful.
Okay, now for the deer. I got there just in time to buy biscuits before the lady packed them all up. And those deer know you have biscuits. They’re coming for all the biscuits. It was hard to take photos and run away from them at the same time.
I noticed a couple doing the same thing. The woman was documenting the experience as the guy was feeding the deer. He finally ran out of biscuits (they don’t last long, omg). Instead of expressing their frustration at the guy, one deer head butts the woman! Like where are your biscuits! Why aren’t you feeding us?! The guy was laughing and she punches his arm. Glorious. I wish I caught it on video.
I walked around the park after that. There’s these girls on a bike. Another couple is taking wedding photos.
I’m hungry again. I try to find a restaurant nearby but am unsuccessful. I start going toward the hostel as there’s a shopping area on the way. I spy a Polish flag outside some European shop. It’s closed. I continue on and end up buying chicken at the grocery store to reheat at the hostel. It’s a good dinner too.
At the hostel, I find I have the room to myself. I book another night as I make plans for tomorrow.