Japan / TRAVEL

Day Trip at Nara | Japan

Personally speaking, we hate changing accommodations too often when on a sightseeing trip. Packing, unpacking, check-in, and check-out eats away a lot of time. So, a day trip from Kyoto to Nara Park might actually be the best option to see its beautiful temples and shrines.

How to get to Nara from Kyoto?

From Kyoto station to Nara station it only takes about 35 minutes by high-speed train (Shinkansen bullet train).

However, if you are holding a JR Pass like us, then this is the option you want to take. The Miyakoji Kaisoku Express will get you from Kyoto to Nara in 45 minutes. These trains leave every 30 minutes from Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station.

A very dense network of bus lines operates within Nara. So, you might want to consider buying the Nara Bus Pass, which will grant you unlimited Kotsu buses around Nara. It costs 500 Yen.

With the day pass, we start our day by heading to the Todaiji. We knew we are getting closer, as on the way there we are able to see the deer walking on the street and the road. When we alighted in front of the Nara park, we can’t wait to play with them however we decided to head to Todaiji first.

Todai-ji Temple

We reached Todai-Ji Temple at around 9.30pm. Todai-Ji (Great Eastern Temple) is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara.

It is indeed a world heritage site, my mouth was width open when we see the main temple. The temple is so grand and big that it took us two hour to tour finish the place. However, I was so clumsy that I lost my tripod and I only found out after the walk in the temple. Lucky it has been picked up by the wonderful kind staffs at the museum beside the temple entrance.

Entry Fee: 600 Yen

Lunch and Kotonoha by Syoka

There are lots of delicious food around the temple. However, as it is a tourist site, the queue for popular tend to be longer. We are so hungry and exhausted thus we decided to sit down at a cafe which doesn’t require any waiting. After lunch, we enjoy a cup of ice cream at an outdoor cafe called Kotonoha by Syoka. You could check out the other post we shared.

Nara Park

The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure.

Nara’s deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed.

Nara Machi

We ended up spending most of our day at Nara Park. As we have a long journey to Tokyo, we decided to end our day at the Nara Machi.

In Naramachi you will experience the atmosphere of old times created by old “Machiya” (historic merchant townhouses) and small alleys full of interesting sights. You can see some cute shops and shopping. We spend some time at a traditional wagashi tea shop before ending our Nara Trip. Angela mentioned that Nara Machi was one of her favourite spotlights during the trip, of course apart from the adorable Deer. We definitely will return again, maybe not a Monday where most of the stores where closed.

I would say we really did a bad planning this time. You need to buff sometime from Nara to Kyoto and to Tokyo as there is no direct train from Nara to Tokyo.

We were almost late for our check-in timing in Tokyo again (like in Osaka). Thus, we encourage you to leave earlier if you are having a day trip from Tokyo to Nara. Highly recommend you to grab a bento at the train station and take a nap during the journey as it will be at least a 3 hours 50 minutes rides

xoxo, Joe

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