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Taking a day trip to Nara is popular for many visitors to Japan, and once you see our photographs, you’ll understand why.

Adding Nara to our itinerary

About 45 minutes on the train from either Osaka or Kyoto, Nara is easily reachable. It’s also not too costly, meaning it will fit into most travel budgets, whatever kind of trip you’re taking. You can even use your Japan Rail pass to get there! It’s very popular as a day trip, probably because of the numerous wild deer you’ll see roaming about. If we’re being honest, that’s why we chose to add it to our itinerary.

Within minutes of arriving and walking towards the temples, we’d already spotted our first friend! It was very surreal to see so many deer just wandering around. There’s not really anything like this in England, of course we have deer, but you never really see more than one at a time, and usually it’s somewhere remote.

Don’t feed the animals (or do)

It’s quickly apparent upon arrival that these fellas are hungry. There are a number of stalls where you can purchase some deer crackers (known as shika senbei) for about 150Y a pack. Just make sure you hide them in a pocket quite quickly – they soon know when there’s food about!

As you can see, these guys definitely know where the food’s at! And famously, in true Japanese style, they will bow their heads to receive their treat. So sweet!

Adam managed to find what we think might be the only shy deer in Nara. It took some convincing to get him to take a cracker, but we think he enjoyed it once we got there! When feeding the deer it can get a little hectic, they love a chase! Don’t be afraid though, the worst we got was a small nip on the bottom.

The giant buddha

The todaiji temple is a good stop to add to your day trip itinerary. It’s famous for housing one of the biggest Buddhas in the country and well worth a visit if you’re on a day trip to Nara. Walking up to the entrance, even the outside is impressive. Entry costs a reasonable 600 yen, we’d recommend it!

The beauty of just wandering

The most enjoyable part of our day was simply taking in Nara at our own pace. We wandered all over town, taking in various trails and paths, and saying hello to lots of friendly (and hungry) deer along the way. It’s the perfect place to just turn up to and see where the day takes you – there’s so much beauty in just turning up without a set itinerary.

Take a day trip to Nara

If you’ve got time in your itinerary, we highly recommend taking a day trip to Nara. When the weather is nice, it’s beautiful! It’s easy to get to from either Osaka or Kyoto, and it’s perfect for taking in at a leisurely pace. Have you been? Did you manage to make friends with any deer? Let us know over in the comments or on twitter!

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