[S] Autumn in Osaka-Kyoto-Nara, Japan Day 3: Nara Deer Park, Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha!


Welcome to the Third installation of our trip. This morning, left our lodgings and lug our baggage to Nara.

Click to watch our Day 3 Vlog!

We took the Kintetsu Nara Line from Kintetsu-Namba station. Namba is actually one large area with private rail stations interconnected by underground walkways. It took a while to walk from one line to the next, but I’m just glad that they were connected. Walking outside in the morning can be really cold.

The Kintetsu Nara Line will bring us all the way to Kintetsu Nara Station. That’s also where we find a couple of coin lockers to keep our excess baggage safe before venturing out into the… rain… Yes it’s raining in Nara.. And it lasted the-whole-damn-day..

We went to a nearby Daiso to get our umbrellas and off we go. From the map, the station looks deceptively near, but it took us about 30mins, walking against the cold wind, to reach Todaiji. Should’ve taken a bus.


So along the way, we encountered several groups of deers and we witnessed how they chew on every visitor’s clothes, with or without the senbei. The deers were famous for being tame, so I’ve read online.. There were senbei vendors selling those rice crackers used to feed them. The deers would bow at you first before coming in for that senbei, or anything that resembles food, in your hand. Or they would just chew on your clothing. Yes we saw all that, a guy was giving out the senbei and the deers mobbed him, chewing the senbei off his hands or just chewing on his clothes. Claire was just walking past a deer and it went and chew on her coat. They must be really hungry at this time, so we decided to just skip feeding them.


We just kinda walked around the vicinity and took pictures of ourselves, avoiding the deers which were attracted to the plastic bag I was holding in my hand.



Walking up to the main hall of Todaiji, this is the Great South Gate (nandaimon), a national treasure.


We noticed that the grounds were littered with little brown pellets, moistened by the rain, they all turned mushy. It’s all deer shit, and the rain splattering on them aren’t helping. Soon we will have shit all over our pants.


And best part must be Claire wearing her baby blue shoes and white culottes, LOL.


The Daibutsu or Great Buddha in Todaiji, the former largest wooden building in the world. Its cavernous space within the great hall to house the Great Buddha.


And the hole in the pillar, according to the legends, this hole is the same size as one of the Daibutsu’s nostrils. Legend has it that those who pass through it will be blessed with enlightenment in their next life.


Next we make our way to Kasuga Taisha. We just sort of followed the Torii gate behind Todaiji, its like a transition phase from Buddhism to Shinto-ism once we passed under the gate.

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Kasuga Taisha area is actually a group of multiple shinto shrines in the area, each dedicated to different deities. The thing that struck me was the overgrown vegetation as compared to the wide open grounds of Todaiji with its trees planted far apart. Kinda gave me an impression of shinto embracing the force of nature within their culture, respecting that nature too have their right to exist in whatever form they wish to be in.


And along the way, we skirt around mist shrouded Wakayama-hills. Seems like you need to pay a fee to enter, which we didn’t.


And we came upon this picturesque teahouse. I think the sign reads Mizutani Chaya. Then next is a series of pictures around this area.






It’s a shame that I didn’t have a nice shot of Kasuga Taisha itself, wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out in my pictures, it’s a beautiful place with many moss-covered stone lanterns and many other offering lanterns hanging in the temple buildings. There were all donations/offerings made by believers, and my photos were not depicting the mystical air correctly, so I rather not show it here and let those of you who are interested to go there and experience it first hand.


We soon made our 2km walk back from Nara park to Kintetsu-Nara station.


It’s actually not difficult as there are plenty of ways to get between the 3 popular cities in the Kansai region. Going to Kyoto from Nara, we took a direct train to Kyoto Station where we will walk to our ryokan in Kyoto. Some trains will require you to make a transfer at Yamato-Saidaiji station to continue your way to Kyoto, so do take note.

It’s too bad that taking photos in the rain isn’t my forte. So I didn’t have many to show for today. But stay tuned for this series as I’m not even halfway thru it yet!

Ciao guys, see you next time when I show & tell about our Day 4 at Kyoto!

Simon Tey


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