ASIA

Nara Deer Park

When planning our trip to Japan, I realized that there were several great cities near Kyoto that I also wanted to see. Packing up and switching hotels becomes really time consuming, so side trips are a great option when possible.

My rule of thumb is:

  • Can you get there in no more than 2-3 hours? (Remember that it’ll take that long to get back, so anything further than that is just too far.)
  • Can you see that place in just 1 day?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, then it definitely warrants a side trip.

I love side trips, because it allows you to see the main sites in an additional place that you wouldn’t have visited otherwise. I’m a big proponent of seeing as much as you possibly can in a short time. I usually focus on the best of the best and leave the rest for another time. If you fall in love with a place, you can always plan a trip back in the future.

In our case, there were 3 places that we wanted to see, and they met the criteria for a side trip: Nara, Hiroshima and Miyajima. (Hiroshima and Miyajima will be in the next blog post.)

 

NARA

On our third day in Kyoto, we had a break in the middle of the day, so we jumped on the train and headed to Nara for a super quick visit. The train ride is only 45 minutes, so you can visit Nara rather quickly, if need be. We were on a tight time constraint, but I got to feed the deer, which was my priority. Although, I do wish we had a few more hours to really see the city and all of the beautiful temples.

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Nara is famous for its deer park, which has over 1,200 deer roaming freely. When you arrive, street vendors sell you deer crackers for a couple of dollars. As soon as the deer notice that you have food in your hands, they come right up to you. I refused to leave Japan without going to feed the deer and I’m so glad that I did it.

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For the most part the deer are docile, but I was lucky enough to get the aggressive one. Yea, lucky me! I’m being completely stereotypical assuming it was a HE. He would fight with the others and he even bit me… TWICE! First he bit me on the tummy, hoping that I would drop the food, and later he bit me on the butt so I would turn around to feed him. I think he learned that people drop the food if he bites them… Smart guy! Luckily, they don’t have sharp teeth. It felt more like a pinch. He never broke my skin, but the bite on my tummy did leave a bruise for about a week. I think he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t forget him, and I certainly haven’t.

[KGVID width=”800″ height=”451″]http://thetravelingred.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/deer-biting-video.mov[/KGVID]

After about an hour with the deer, it was time to rush back to Kyoto for our sake tour. Read all about our Kyoto adventure here: 4 Days in Kyoto

The next day we visited Hiroshima and Miyajima, so check back soon for the rest of our Japanese adventure.

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