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When you visit Kyoto or Osaka, be sure to take a day trip to Nara. Here you can spend half a day just strolling through Nara park, watch thousands of deers roaming freely. Don’t run away if you found yourself being followed by some of the deers looking for crackers!

How to get to Nara park

Nara is within easy day-trip distance from nearby Kyoto and Osaka. The best way to reach Nara is to take the Kintetsu Nara Line limited express from either Kyoto Station or Osaka Namba Station. The line will end at Kintetsu Nara station, which is just five-minute walk away from Nara park. Alternatively you can also get here by JR. Nara JR station is about 20 minutes walk to Nara park (green area shown in the map below).

Nara Park Map

Day trip to Nara

Nara is most famous for the thousands free-roaming deers in Nara Park. Considered as messengers of the Shinto gods, the deers have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure.

Within 5 minutes of getting off Kintetsu Nara Line, you will see deers!

Within 5 minutes of getting off Kintetsu Nara Line, you will see deers!

Deer cookies are for sale all over Nara park.

Deer crackers are for sale all over Nara park, 150 yen each stack.

Some deers even learned to bow to be fed.

Some deers have learned to bow to asked to be fed.

Nara Park

The deers are surprisingly tame most of the time. But they could be a bit aggressive if they think you will feed them.

"All gone! no more deer crackers."

“All gone! no more deer crackers.”

Deer crossing

Deer crossing!

Don't mind me

Don’t mind me,

Is that a deer family?

Is that a deer family?

Other attractions in Nara park

Established in 1880, Nara park also contains several of Nara’s main attractions including Todaiji temple, Kasuga Taisha shrine, Kofukuji temple and Nara National Museum.

Kofukuji temple

The Eastern Golden Hall and Five Story Pagoda at Kofukuji temple

Add Uji on your day trip to Nara

Since we had only three days in Kyoto, we spent the entire time within the city of Kyoto. We waited until we were staying in Osaka to take the day trip to Nara on a sunny day. It worked out perfectly. We spent about half a day walking through Nara park. The deer crackers were gone so fast that my daughter kept buying more. It was definitely a day trip worth doing, especially with kids.

I later learned about the town of Uji, which is about 20 minutes outside of Kyoto and located along JR Nara Line and Kintetsu Nara Line. Aside from its centuries-old historical sites and striking natural beauties, Uji is most known for its green tea! Here you can participate in a tea ceremony or hands-on workshop. So if you are staying in Kyoto, consider combining Uji on your day trip to Nara. Be sure to look for Sakura tea if you do visit Uji!

 

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