Kawaii Deer and Superb Temples
Nara is a small city of Kansai area on Honshu Island, only 42 kilometers south from Kyoto. Capital of the eponymous prefecture, it is renowned for its historical heritage. Once the capital of Japan, it is now characterized by the many deers roaming free in town.
Do not be fooled by its size (with only 365,000 inhabitants) - when it comes to tourism Nara plays in the big league.
Large numbers of tourists come every year to enjoy the charms of its large park which is home to national treasures of Japan.
One of its main advantages is to have all the places of interest within walking distance in the area spanning from the station to the park. Therefore, Nara can be visited on a full one-day trip. The only exception is Horyu-ji Temple, which is a 12-minute train 🚅 ride away, followed by a 20-minute walk to get there.
Visitors love greeting the shika deer that roam freely in the park and often come for a little nosy (and in search of a snack!) even more so than in Miyajima. However, the need to control the deer’s population arose in 2017 and it was decided to allow hunting and killing them in the east of Nara, where they damaged the most the fields (of rice, vegetables, bamboos, etc.). On the same year, 164 cases of biting were reported, of which 78% involved foreigners (who were then 2,09 million to visit the city). On the 2018 fiscal year, there were 200 cases, involving 80% of foreigners.
The number of deer on the Japanese archipelago is estimated 2,5 million, but the most famous are in Nara and Miyajima.
Nara was the capital of Japan for 74 years during the era of the same name (in the eighth century).