Nara: Deers and Todaiji

By Cubie - April 10, 2011

Nara was Japan's first permanent capital, as a result of that it was full of historic treasures. As Nara is located less than an hour away from Kyoto and Osaka, it is a popular destination as a day trip if you are based in Kyoto or Osaka.

Speaking of Nara, one would thought of deers and Todaiji.

As of why Nara is famous for deers, I have no clue. Wikipedia put it down as deers being regarded as heavenly animals as according to legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijo-kyo.

People blogged about keeping JR pass in a safe place out of the reach of these deers. Grin. I think it is a good piece of advice. When I was at the ground near Kofukuji Temple, I actually saw someone tried to wrestle a map from one of the deers. :P

Along the walk to Todaiji from JR Nara Station, there were deers along the way.

The driver was feeding the deer from inside his car. If you are interested to feed the deers, there are shika senbei (鹿煎餅) on sale. Remember oh.. shika senbei are for deers, don't eat them yourself.

As for Todaiji, it is one of famous landmark in Nara. Todaiji housed Japan's largest bronze Buddha statue (Daibutsu), also world's largest wooden building. It was said that the walk from JR Nara station to Todaiji takes about 40-50 minutes but don't know how I strolled, I reached Nara at 2pm, but only reached Todaiji at 4pm. Closing time was at 4.30pm as I was there in January. My legs can't be that short. = ="

Archway before main building of Todaiji
The building itself
There are of course bigger Buddha statue elsewhere, here's the one in Nara
Moo Moo Gal and Ms Mo visited Nara on the day I flew out of Sydney to Osaka. They had a very successful shopping day in Nara. Of their purchases, one of it was a type of cracker which looked like almond biscotti. The moment I set my eyes on it, I wanted to find them! I wasn't sure which shop they went to but I can't seem to find them :(
However thereafter, Moo Moo Gal told me it was salty in taste, so I think its a type of senbei, not almond biscotti.

Instead, I got a packet of baked yatsuhashi instead. This is actually a specialty of Kyoto. :P The texture is like cracker, with cinnamon taste.

Side note: I wonder what's the budget a day in New York including accommodation for a midrange traveller

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