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Nara Park

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One place I had permanent-markered into our schedule was Nara Park in the Nara Prefecture. It is right next to Osaka and it took us about an hour or so to get there from our AirBnB. Everyday, this area gets a lot of visitors, but don't be alarmed, Nara Park is so big, you will always be able to find a spot that is less crowded. As you get out of Kintetsu-Nara Station, it just looks like your average suburbian city, a few shops along the main road, etc. As you walk along the street, you can start to see the park ahead. Then, it appears, the first deer sighting! Okay, I won't hide it, I was shrieking like a kid in a candy store. Bae really had to usher me along. Soon after, deer EVERYWHERE! Trying to hide my glee, especially since this area was more crowded and I was acting more childish than the children around me, we spotted a little trolley where a cute grandma was selling deer crackers for 150 yen. We bought three packs and where on our way.

We started around Kōfuku-ji and smashed through our packs of deer crackers. We quickly learnt that these deer were very experienced in the art of getting crackers from humans. One bit bae on the belly, trying to get his attention away from the other deer. I got bitten on the arm - I'm pretty sure she was trying to tug at my coat sleeve but went a bit overboard. Although this was bloody hilarious at the time, it did leave me with a bruise. Worth it.

 

We decided to get away from the crowd and go explore the park. We walked towards the Mizuya Shrine and then to Tōdai-ji. Every step of this park is beautiful. We had planned to spend a couple of hours in Nara Park since we didn't think feeding deers would be as exciting two hours on - we were wrong. Walking through the park is so peaceful and fulfilling, and there is just so much to see and enjoy. If you don't like crowds, start heading into the park because there are still so many deer strewn all over the place, you won't miss out.

Our feet led us to the area around Todaiji HokkeDo (Sangatsudo). There are temples here as well as small noodle shops, souvenir shops, shrines - plenty to see. We didn't come to Nara Park with the knowledge that these structures were within the park so when we arrived to these places, it was a very pleasant surprise. Not only did we get to feed deer, we got to see our first temple in Japan. Every inch of the temple grounds are picture perfect and because most people don't venture this far into the park, you really get to enjoy it in peace.

 

We visited the souvenir shop that isn't marked on Google Maps, which is just here behind the street sign. It was run by these two cute Japanese ladies who were so very kind.  We bought some deer magnets and keyrings and we were on our way again. With souvenir shops, there are plenty around, however, since the park is so big, I would suggest buying whatever you're looking at because there is a slim chance you would want to walk all the way back to the shop at the end of the day - if the shop is still open that is.

Our final destination at Nara Park was Tōdai-ji. This is where all the people are. Many walk in from the Nandaimon Gate of Tōdaiji, towards to temple. There are deer along here as well but you will find that the people here are looking more to go to the temple than to feed the deer. You can usually find them chilling under the trees.

 

So, that was our adventure! Nara Park will go down as one of my absolute favourite places in Japan and I know it will stay that way even though there are plenty of places I have yet to discover. For anyone who is looking to go to Japan, please do not miss this place. It is truly breathtaking.

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