Scattered across Japan are countless beautiful wonders, conjuring sensations of amazement and fascination among travellers. Nestled between the country’s major population hubs are smaller cities, hiding a collection of engaging attractions that continue to captivate the interest of guests time and time again. Located near the cities of Kyoto and Osaka is Nara. This city offers a rich history, an abundance of friendly animals and charming stores to entertain and amuse any traveller. For those exploring Japan, here are some top reasons to stop by Nara during your journey.
Great location and easy to get to
Japan has no shortage of charming, smaller cities that are worth exploring, although some can be hard to access. Some of these cities can be visited through day tours, however this option can be expensive. Nara is easy to access and contains a selection of wonderful attractions. It is the best of both worlds.
Nara is located East of Osaka and South of Kyoto. Getting there is easiest by train and takes approximately one hour into the heart of the city. Many of the city’s attractions are located within Nara Park, and can even be accessed on foot. The range of popular temples in Nara are not as central, although can be easily reached by bus or train.
Vibrant parkland & deer everywhere
Comprised of colourful trees, wide-open spaces and hundreds of free-roaming deer, Nara Park was founded in 1880 and is a very unique spot to visit. The friendly deer that inhabit the park roam at will and are mostly welcoming to guests. The park is home to around 1200 deer and has been named a national treasure of Japan. Deer biscuits are available for purchase to feed them, with some deer bowing to travellers before being fed.
The park is also home to a collection of entertaining markets, quaint restaurants, the national museum and Tōdai-ji temple. Wandering through the park, among these free-roaming animals is quite a distinctive sight that shouldn’t be missed.
One of Japan’s biggest buddha
Tōdai-ji temple, an icon of Nara, was built around 752 and is a popular spot among tourists and locals. The Buddhist temple houses the world’s largest wooden building, which is merely two-thirds of its original size after its reconstruction in 1709.
The grounds also hold one of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statues, standing at an impressive 15m. Located at the back of the Buddha is a small hole at the base of a wooden column. The hole is the same size as one of the Buddha’s nostrils and it is believed those that can squeeze through the gap are ensured enlightenment in the next life. The spacious grounds of Tōdai-ji are located upon the northern side of Nara Park and most of the temple’s gardens can be visited free of charge.
When embarking on a day trip to the engaging city of Nara, be sure not to miss Nara Park, the Tōdai-ji Temple and the range of markets and restaurants on offer. Many of the sites within Nara, such as Nara Park and Tōdai-ji temple can be accessed for free, making Nara a very affordable destination to visit.
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