We visited Nara Park for a quick day trip from Osaka and Kyoto.
It was a fun day trip from Osaka (or Kyoto) and absolutely amazing break from the hectic Osaka. Very peaceful and the park itself is cool, with deers and nice temples. It is quite different from all the Osaka sights such as TeamLab, or Osaka Castle or Yasaka Namba Shrine. And different from Kyoto sights too.
Of course, if you have been to Miyajima Island, there are also deers there too, roaming around…. but Nara is just different…….
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About Nara Park
Nara Park is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, and is one of the oldest parks in the country. It is renowned for its population of freely roaming deer. These deer are considered sacred and have become a symbol of the city. Visitors often enjoy feeding and interacting with them.
The famous park is also home to several significant landmarks, including Todai-ji, a Buddhist temple that houses a large bronze statue of Buddha (Daibutsu), and the Nara National Museum, which showcases a vast collection of Buddhist art.
The park is known for its picturesque natural beauty, especially during the cherry blossom season in spring when the cherry trees are in full bloom, attracting many visitors from around the world.
Getting from Shin-Osaka to Nara
As I was staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Shin-Osaka Station, it was a pretty easy ride from the hotel to Nara Station. Basically, I took the local train at Shin-Osaka station and then change to the Yamatoji-Rapid Nara line to Nara.
There are numerous way of getting from Osaka to Nara station (or the other Nara’s station called Kintetsu-Nara Station) too.
Here’s some guidelines:
Some photos of my ride from Shin-Osaka to Nara station…
Walking from Nara Station to Nara Park
From Nara Station, it was a nice walk along very well designed pedestrian walk to the Nara Park. About 2.1 km or 30 mins walk… 🙂
The map is useful too..
Such a nice walkway.. with lots of good food and Kimono rental along the way 🙂
Nice PRETTY food for sale !!
Nakatanidou at Nara, Japan
Nakatanidou is a famous traditional mochi (rice cake) shop located in Nara, Japan, known for its unique and entertaining mochi-pounding performances. Nakatanidou has garnered international attention for its skilled artisans who demonstrate the art of mochi-making with impressive speed and precision.
You can see the map where we can see how going to Nakatanidou is along the way of walking from Nara Station to the Park. So you dont miss it !
The shop is particularly renowned for its creation of the popular “Mochi-pounding Show,” during which the staff energetically pound the rice with large wooden mallets in a rhythmic manner, captivating the audience with their synchronized movements.
This spectacle has become a significant attraction for tourists visiting Nara, providing them with an opportunity to witness a traditional Japanese culinary art form.
Aside from the performance aspect, Nakatanidou is celebrated for its high-quality mochi, which comes in various flavors and fillings, including red bean paste, sesame, and green tea. The shop’s commitment to preserving traditional mochi-making techniques while embracing innovation has contributed to its widespread recognition and popularity among both locals and tourists.
Here’s my video taken of the Mochi-Pounding Show during my trip 🙂
Hiraso Sushi Shop
Kakinoha sushi is a local specialty in Nara or sushi wrapped with persimmon leaf. We took a slight detour to grab one at the Hirsao shop at Nara.
Verdict ? Very nice unique taste 🙂
Temples and Pagodas at Nara Park
There are many nice temples and pagodas to visit at Nara Park.
A map shows you the whole park (or at least part of it)…
Todai-ji Temple at Nara Park
Todai-ji, located within Nara Park in Nara, Japan, is one of the most historically significant and culturally revered Buddhist temples in the country.
Constructed in the 8th century during the Nara period, the temple complex is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is celebrated for its architectural brilliance and spiritual importance.
North South facing as usual 🙂
The main hall of Todai-ji, known as the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), is recognized as one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. Do spend time to appreciate the building.
It houses a colossal bronze statue of Buddha, known as the Daibutsu, which stands at approximately 15 meters in height. This statue is a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship and engineering skills of the artisans of the era.
In addition to the Daibutsu, the temple complex encompasses various other structures, including the Nigatsu-do and the Shuni-e ceremony hall, each of which holds its own historical and religious significance. Visitors can also explore the surrounding serene gardens and wooded areas that add to the tranquil and spiritual ambiance of the temple grounds.
Todai-ji remains a significant destination for tourists and pilgrims alike, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to admire its architectural grandeur, learn about its rich history, and experience the profound cultural and spiritual legacy it represents in Japanese Buddhism.
Deers at Nara Park
Of course, the deers at Nara Park are the highlight for the kids. Super cute and smart.
Or maybe not so cute, when they are in their mating season..
The deers in Nara Park, known as Nara’s sacred deer, hold a special cultural and historical significance in the region. Considered to be divine messengers of the gods according to Shinto beliefs, these deer have been designated as a natural treasure and are protected as such.
The Sika deer, or Nara deer, are known for their friendly and approachable nature, and they have become a symbol of the city. Visitors often enjoy interacting with these deer, feeding them specially designated deer crackers that are sold in the park.
The deer have learned to bow to tourists in exchange for these crackers, a behavior that has become a popular spectacle and a symbol of the harmonious relationship between humans and nature in Nara.
See.. this video of how the deers bow for food….
It’s important to note that while the deer are generally friendly, they are still wild animals, and visitors are advised to treat them with respect and caution. The park has specific guidelines for interacting with the deer to ensure the safety and well-being of both the visitors and the deer population.
Overall, the presence of the deer adds to the charm and unique experience of visiting the park at Nara, creating a memorable and endearing connection between nature, culture, and the city’s rich historical heritage.
Be prepared to spend some monies to cater to your children’s desire to feed the deers. Or maybe yourself too :)..
Nara Park : To go or Not to Go
GO ! For the park, the temple and the deers. Super day trip !