After a three hour journey from Nagoya, we arrived in Nara. Driving up the main road to find parking, I was shocked. I knew there were going to be deers wandering around the park but had not realised how many. The huge park is literally covered in them: big and small. They looked so cute.
Not sure whether they would be friendly, especially as there were signs around saying they hit, kick and head butt you, but they were. Some of them would just walk away if they didn’t want to be stroked; others would stay there enjoying a pet. Most of them are just loitering, hoping for a free biscuit snack, which are sold for ¥150 on every path corner.
Once we got over the fact that there were so many tame deer, we found the Nara museum of Art but decided not to go in.
In the park, there were many temples and shrine, which were extremely beautiful.
Five storied Pagoda
While trying to find the main attraction, we came across Yoshikien Garden, which was free for foreigners (not really sure why). It was a delicate garden with a pond, moss garden, tea-ceremonial flower garden and a tea house, which seems to be there for show as there was no access. I was slightly disappointed with this.
Eventually, we found the Todaiji, which comprised of many remarkable structures and artefacts. First, is the majestic Nandaimon (Great South gate), then the Daibutsuden with a massive roof. To the right of the door was a strange figure: Binzuru. Inside the great hall, deep in meditation on a massive podium within a ring of giant lotus leaves was the Daibusu (huge great Buddha). Seated on the sides are Nyorin Kannon and Kokuzo.
Afterwards, while trotting back to the car, I decided to try to take a selfie with a deer but was quite unsuccessful as I’m rubbish at taking them at the right angle and the deer kept moving. Here’s my attempt: