January 6, 2017

Literally when I say “a short trip”, I’m not kidding. We had one objective in Nara, and that was to see the deer, so we certainly didn’t waste no time there.

First things first, we woke up later than we intended; we had reserved seats the day before on the Shinkansen bound for Kyoto, but we over-slept and missed our train. Luckily there wasn’t one too much longer afterwards and reserving seats doesn’t cost anything, so we didn’t lose money.

We got some even better views of Mt. Fuji from the shinkansen this time.

Once again, like with Matsumoto, we couldn’t take the shinkansen directly to Nara so we had to get off at Kyoto and catch a local train for Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital. And once again, we walked all the way from the station to our point of interest. We saw this beautiful, dark pagoda before entering the Deer Park.

Seriously the coolest park ever. The deer are still wild, but certainly pretty friendly, especially if you buy the crackers sold throughout the park to feed them with. But they can still bite, kick, and butt you if they’re hangry enough.

We spent an hour or so total here in the deer park, also stopping by Todai-ji temple to see the famous Great Buddha. Daibutsu-den Hall, the temple in which Great Buddha is housed, is actually the largest wooden structure in the world.

Our game plan was to spend the next two nights in Kyoto, to make going to Nara and Osaka easier on our schedule without taking train rides from Tokyo everyday. So upon finishing our visit to the deer in Nara, we got back on the train for Kyoto and headed straight for Fushimi Inari-Taisha. Ever since watching and reading Memoirs of a Geisha, I had been dying to go here. It was a bit crowded, that’s for sure, but still so peaceful and serene. Let’s just say vermilion might be my new favorite color.

After exploring the impressive shrine grounds, we headed to our hotel, Kyoto Tower Hotel, literally right across from Kyoto Station. We rested for a bit after our exploration, then headed out for dinner and a snack. I had some yummy salmon and tuna nigiri, and we found the maple milk tea released during the fall. Yum!

Highlight of the Day

  • Nara deer park
  • Fushimi Inari-taisha

Favorite Food of the Day

  • salmon + tuna nigiri

Favorite Snack of the Day

  • N/A

Favorite Drink of the Day

  • maple-flavored Royal Milk Tea

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