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Published: August 11th 2015
One of eight Unesco temples in Nara.
From Osaka, it was a quick <1h train ride eastwards to the ancient capital of Nara, home of over a half dozen Unesco World Heritage temples dating from hundreds of years back. I have to admit that prior to planning for this Japan leg of my travels, I really hadn't even heard of Nara! It was only after checking out the recommended highlights in LP that I found out this place forms one part of some kind of holy trinity in the Kansai area with the larger cities Osaka and Kyoto, and as such definitely a must-see. It certainly wasn't a disappointment.
As mentioned, Nara boasts of a bunch of old, historical temples, thanks to its status as a one-time ancient capital. Visiting during pretty much the peak period during the summer (I spent an entire sweaty morning hunting for a place to stay, having as usual made no advance reservations), the place was packed with tourists, and in particular lotsa youngish Japanese couples intent on donning the traditional yukata (lounge wear) everywhere despite the crazy afternoon heat, which I suppose on the flip side lends this already very atmospheric city another extra edge. I'd already encountered roaming wild deer
Shika-senbei for sale
That's deer crackers for you. They absolutely love it, and will hound you to death for a crumb.
in Miyajima off Hiroshima, but Nara takes it to a whole new level! Apparently the hordes of deer peppering almost every corner of Nara Park have been there since time immemorial, and they certainly behave as if they own land, harassing tourists for their favourite handouts shika-senbei, and reducing many a young child to tears!
Stayed at Nara Ugaya Guesthouse and Makura Guesthouse.
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