Explore Nara: A Rainy Day Photo Essay

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. 

A small road, it's raining and people are walking away.
A small road in Nara, Japan

Once in Nara, before we headed towards the park we walked through the small side streets in search of an early lunch.


A bowl of udon noodles with Japanese beef curry sauce.
Udon noodles with a Japanese beef curry sauce.

A hot, filling bowl of noodles was the perfect dish to give us energy for the rest of the day.

Kofukuji Temple and the Five Story Pagoda
Kofukuji Temple and the Five Story Pagoda
A deer in Nara Park
A deer in Nara Park

We saw our first deer on the temple grounds, she came straight for us and bowed for food.

steps covered in moss
Steps covered in moss

As we walked further into the park, the rain made the colours of the forest come alive.

three deer grazing in the park
Three deer relaxing in the park

We saw more and more deer the further we walked, blissfully ignoring humans once they received a treat.

A red tori gate across a small lake
A tori gate across the lake

Walking towards another temple, a lonely tori gate shone against the green landscape.

Todaiji Temple
Todaiji Temple
A tree with overgrown roots growing in one direction
The beautiful overgrown roots of a tree

Hiding from the rain under the trees, we saw this amazing root formation.

two deer grazing in front of a temple
The deer grazing in front of a temple
A path in Nara towards Kasuga Taisha Shire with stone lanters at the side
The path towards Kasuga Taisha Shrine

From here onwards, the path was lined with more and more stone lanterns. All slightly different, with moss growing over some of them.

stone lanterns lining a path
A path lined with stone lanterns
The bright red wooden pillars at the shrine
The bright red wooden pillars at the shrine

The path along the shine, taking us to our final destination.

Useful Information

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.

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