Nara is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world. This is mostly down to its major tourist attraction – deer park where these animals freely approach humans for food.
However, there’s much more to Nara than just deers: Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, and Nara National Museum. For the best experience join a walking tour of Nara.
That’s probably the most memorable part of the Nara experience, feeding and running away from deer. They are generally neutral to your presence. Until you buy snacks designed just for them (there are sellers everywhere, and the snacks are inexpensive). Once you purchase a portion of their waffles, the get pretty crazy. In no time you’re surrounded by deer who lightly bite your clothes to draw attention and get some food. Males are the exception though, they may actually fight you to get what they want, nothing dangerous, but scary.
Tōdai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex and it’s listed as part of UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”. The Great Buddha Hall houses the largest bronze Buddha in the world, and until recently it was the biggest wooden building in the world (precisely, until 1998).
Surrounding buildings also have a number of monumental sculptures.
Another Buddhist temple, Kōfuku-ji, currently consists of only 6 buildings, but was more than twice bigger in the past. The most recognizable part of this temple complex is the five-storied pagoda, Sanjū-no-tō.
Kasuga Grand Shrine
Although located near the Deer Park, Kasuga Shrine, is hidden from the plain view by the forest and probably would have been hard to find if not for the stone lanterns that lead to it. It has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its beauty, religious and historical value.
Nara National Museum
Nara National Museum is one of the most important in Japan and features works of art, mainly related to Buddhism. It’s worth a visit if you’re interested in the topic.