So in our 4 things to do in Osaka article, our Travel Blog talked about taking a 1 day trip out to Nara. Well it’s a really really pretty and serene place, so it’s a good 1 day getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Nara is located just approximately a 45 mins train ride out from Osaka and is accessible via normal JR train.
Osaka to Nara
Getting there isn’t difficult. From Osaka, take the JR Line train towards JR Nara Station. When you’re there, just approach any train staff on shift and if you mention Nara Park, it’ll be a no brainer for them.
When you’ve arrived at Nara station, some promoters may or may not approach you, but you can look for them around the control station nonetheless. They’ll ask if you’re only on a day trip or if you’re staying overnight. While for us, we took a day trip so they recommended the option to take a 1 day unlimited bus ticket package. The pass allowed us to hop on and off the bus which would take you in a loop covering key places around Nara town. We would recommend getting one of these passes especially if you are visiting in winter as you do not want to walk from place to place by foot in the cold with the wind in your hair.
Nara is a pretty small town I would say. Apart from the endless number of shrines to visit, there is the Nara museum, and Nara park which has free roaming deers and opens 24/7 (which is a huge reason why visitors would stop by Nara).
So when you’re there, the famous temple that you shouldn’t miss would be the Todaiji Temple, which is really near the deer park.
Simply wait for the bus at the bus interchange and take it till the bus station “Todaiji Daibutsuden”. And just a tip, you may want to sit in front, and let the driver inform you when you are reaching your destination. Alternatively, there are some buses that has a screen in front with English subtitles informing you of the names of the current and next stop you’re headed.
The temple usually closes slightly earlier in winter, at 430pm, so you should consider making this your first stop. When you enter the main hall, you will be greeted by the “World’s largest wooden building’, which houses one of Japan’s largest Big Buddha statue. Take a slow tour around Todaiji to explore and be mesmerized by the architecture of the previous century.
Nara Deer Park
Adjacent to Todaiji is Nara Park, which gained fame in recent years because of the free roaming deers around the park. It isnt exactly easy getting some selfies with them because they aren’t very engaging animals.
But if there is one sure way to attract their attention, it’ll be the Shika Senbei; special deer crackers that you can purchase for approximately 150YEN at the shops and pushcarts around the area and use it to feed them!
Word of caution from us though, these Deers who have been accustomed to tourist feeding them, do magically become OVER friendly and start crowding around you the moment you head to a store to buy the crackers.
The same deers that couldnt give two hoots about you just a few mins ago would start following you, nudging, nibbling (on your clothes and bags etc) to get your attention. Some of them might even get aggressive when fighting for food and you can find yourself surrounded by 7 or 8 deer at one time which can be quite intimidating especially for kids.
We saw a few Japanese girls who seemed overwhelm at the number of deers surrounding them that they dropped their entire batch of crackers on the floor. We personally got to experience their determination to get food as what isn’t shown in the above video, was when one of the deers bite the map right out of my pocket and started chewing on it.
But overall, it was still a pretty fun experience that you probably wouldnt get to do anywhere else around the world. 🙂
We hope you have found our Singapore Travel Blog useful and do share with us about your experience at Nara deer park and if you have gotten your stuff chewed on as well in the comments below!