It rained all night, and it kept on raining as we boarded the train at Umeda Station. Prepared with our trusty umbrellas, but tired from the day before in Osaka we were ready to explore the old Japanese capital of Nara. This was our second day in Japan, and because of a cyclone towards the south-west we knew we were in for a rainy day.
Once in Nara, before we headed towards the park we walked through the small side streets in search of an early lunch.
A hot, filling bowl of noodles was the perfect dish to give us energy for the rest of the day.
We saw our first deer on the temple grounds, she came straight for us and bowed for food.
As we walked further into the park, the rain made the colours of the forest come alive.
We saw more and more deer the further we walked, blissfully ignoring humans once they received a treat.
Walking towards another temple, a lonely tori gate shone against the green landscape.
Hiding from the rain under the trees, we saw this amazing root formation.
From here onwards, the path was lined with more and more stone lanterns. All slightly different, with moss growing over some of them.
The path along the shine, taking us to our final destination.
Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital. At over 1300 years old it was established in 710. It is known for it’s old grand temples and shrines, and for the wild deer that roam the grounds of Nara Park. It is the perfect little town for a day trip from either Osaka or Kyoto. Not too far away, around an hour by train.
The train is the easiest way to get to Nara. From Osaka it can cost anywhere from 670 yen to 1,310 yen (as of July, 2015) depending on what combination of trains you take and which company runs them.
There is a tourist information office in the train station. I would recommend speaking with the older lady who works there, her English is great, she’s very soft spoken, charming, and polite. She helped us plan a rough route around the city, telling us how long it would take to walk, how far away everything was, and the best places to stop at.
Nara is best explored on a bicycle. The city is small enough that you can walk everywhere like we did, however, you’ll be very tired by the end of the day. There is also a couple of places we missed out on as they’re on the outskirts of Nara.