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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrNara is located in the Kansai region of Japan and near the city of Kyoto. It was the capital city of Japan from 710 to 784. There are eight temples, shrines, and ruins in Nara - Todai-ji, Saidai-ji; Kofuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine; Gango-ji, Yakushi-ji; Toshodai-ji, and the Heijo Palace - which form the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”. The most popular area for visitors to Nara is Nara Park, which also contains three of the eight world heritage sites.
Nara is perhaps most famous for the holy deer which reside in Nara Park. The local legendary history says that the mythological God, Takemikazuchi , arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly-built capital city. Since then, the deer have been regarded as holy animals and are protected by local laws. As a result, tame deer roam freely through the town and are found in the highest concentration in Nara Park. They range in sizes and are, for the most part, friendly and tamed. They can easily be petted or fed with special deer biscuits called “shika sembei”, sold within the park by vendors for between 150 JPY -300 JPY. Be warned that the deer grow increasingly aggressive when they smell or see visitors with these biscuits and will swarm them in order to eat the treats. Do not store them within your bag because the deer will smell them and attempt to bite through your bag to access the treats.
Things to DoTōdai-ji (Eastern Great Temple) is the world's largest wooden building and home to the famous Daibutsu (??), the largest Buddha statue in Japan, all located within Nara Park. The temple can be found by following the stone path through the park and entering a set of large wooden gates guarded by enormous statues. Within the temple grounds, visitors are encouraged to follow tradition by washing their hands at one of the basins and cleansing themselves with incense. Once inside the temple, the giant Buddha is a site to behold. There are many souvenir vendors lining the inside walls of the temple and a place for children, and small adults, to enter inside a wooden column through a small hole which is said to bestow enlightenment upon entering. The outside of the temple is also lined with very large Buddha statues.
Kasuga Grand Shrine (Kasuga-taisha) is also located in Nara Park, through the Kasuga-Yama Primeval Forrest. It is most famous for the collection of thousands of stone lanterns which can be found lining the paths and inside the shrine. Access to the inside of the shrine requires a fee, but viewing the grandeur of the temple grounds and stone shrines is free.
TransportationNara is typically a day trip from either Kyoto or Osaka. From Kyoto it can be accessed by either the Kinetsu Nara Line or JR Nara Line. From Osaka, the city can be accessed by either the Kinetsu Nara Line or JR Kansai Main Line.
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Author: travellingfool. Last updated: Apr 04, 2016