Photo essay: Day trip to Nara

Nara in Japan is not only a physically beautiful city, it’s also historically and culturally important.

Before there was Tokyo, there was Nara, capital of Japan (710-794). It was during this time that Buddhism became the country’s state religion. Today, the city remains a favorite with locals and tourists alike, home to UNESCO World Heritage sites and wild deer.

nara
At Horyuji temple, I was less interested in the five-storied pagoda and more intrigued by this different-colored eye beauty. Did you know pets are free to wander some temple and shrine grounds in Japan?
Nara
If you do visit Nara, be warned that although some of the deer appear cute, they are still wild. This Sika male was not too impressed when I attempted to photograph him on the grounds of Kasuga Taisha.
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This guy/gal was a little more inquisitive. The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park. In Deer Park, Sika deer roam freely because they are deemed sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding forest.
Todai-ji
One of the highlights of Nara is Tōdai-ji. It’s famous for its Great Buddha Hall which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photos: © Hot Foot Trini

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36 thoughts on “Photo essay: Day trip to Nara

  1. I’ve been wanting to go to Nara for a while – I love Tokyo and Kyoto but I keep seeing those lovely deer popping up in photos everywhere and it’s giving me FOMO, haha. That husky is an absolute beauty!

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  2. I think I’m a bit like you, I’d spend more time photographing the animals than the actual temple! That Husky is gorgeous! I’m hoping to visit Japan at some point but I hadn’t heard of Nara before now!

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  3. I cannot believe that deer just stroll through the city and you can get up close and personal to them! I had no idea that Nara used to be the capital instead of Tokyo, such interesting information. You have extremely well designed photos and loved your post!

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  4. Such pretty pictures. That pet dog looks so adorable. I had never heard of Nara till I stumbled upon this blog. It’s interesting to know that Nara was the former capital of Japan. I would like to visit this place.

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  5. Oh my goodness, what do you mean by ‘not too impressed’? He didn’t run at you did he? I really want to visit here with the kids but will have to keep a close eye on them. They’d probably want to go and pat them……

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  6. Your photo essay is really a visual treat for us. Nara is something unique to hear about and good that from your post I widened my views and can go for it. Deers in deer park are really so beautiful and cute. They are adorable and you took beautiful shots of them.

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  7. I love Japan. There’s something so alluring about the mix of ancient and modern! I didn’t make it to Nara on my trip, a shame as I’d love to see the deer. We did find a few down at Miyajima near Hiroshima though. You got some great pics of them!

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  8. I’ve always wanted to visit Nara, and even though this was just a photo essay, I feel like I learned so much from your post! I didn’t know that Nara was formerly the capital of Japan! I also didn’t know that deer were considered sacred! It’s so interesting to learn more about this incredible culture!

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  9. Really great post, so much interesting history- I’d never even heard of Nara never mind knowing it used to be the capital. And those animal snaps are incredible, that husky is gorgeous.

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  10. Is it stupid of me that I never heard about Nara before reading this post? The animals look so cute it is hard to keep a safe distance from them! Haha I would like to know what the Sika male exactly do when you tried to take a snap of him.

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  11. Oh I love these photos. So cute. I know you say the deer are wild but look at those faces. Cookies wouldn’t melt in that mouth. Not those Nara deer cookies.

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  12. Oh my word your pictures are amazing!! That first photo – is it a wolf or a dog?? I’m guessing the latter because who keeps wolves as pets, but it definitely looks super wolf-y.
    I’ve seen a few posts about Nara and really would like to visit some day, if only for the adorable deer.

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  13. It is great that these animals have the freedom to roam around. They look like that they are territorial especially the last one. The look on his/her face was like you were interrupting him/her. Haha!

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