A side trip to Nara deer, tuna, and temples

Travel ?? Comments Tue 06 January 2015

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On my last day in Kyoto, I decided to do a quick trip (45 minutes by train) to Nara, the former capital of Japan from 710-784, and perhaps even more known for its temples than Kyoto.

Oh, and also for its 1200 wild deer.

Firstly, the wild deer are so tame. I managed to get within centimeters of one without it even flinching.

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Oh, hello there


The deer

The deer are basically the main tourist attraction, never mind the temples. You have these massive, centries old temples towering over you, and 90% of the people there are feeding the deers/attempting deer selfies (not that I wasn't guilty of this either).

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Temple? All I see are baby deer!

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Oh, there it is


I was too nervous to feed the deer myself (I was having flashbacks to being bitten by a deer when I was 6 years old on safari), but you could tell that was all they were really looking out for. Case in point; the woman below searching her bag for her phone.

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Food...?


But the temples were pretty stunning, once you're able to look past all the deer.

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Nup, looks like I was distracted by a deer again

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Prison break

Temples

Tōdai-ji is one of the biggest temples in Nara - rebuilt in 1709, it currently houses the worlds largest wooden statue of the Buddha. On the downside, due to the high price of entry (I assume), it is relatively deer-free.

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A deer on the outside lamenting the high cost of admission

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The daibutsuden

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The aforementioned giant Buddha - it was more impressive in person, trust me

Walk through Nara Park

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After visiting Tōdai-ji, I took a brief walk around the park, growing increasingly aware of my grumbling stomach.

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I didn't catch the name of this temple, but it is obviously more deer-friendly than Todai-ji

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Geisha photoshoot!

Tuna

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Nara park seems so isolated and rural, that it's somewhat jarring to turn a corner and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a busy shopping arcade. But, it was time for lunch, so I set out to find a back-alley tuna restaurant I'd read up about online.

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First, though, I got a little bit distracted by Daiso

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Found it


The main draw of this restaurant is basically this: it sells nothing but tuna dishes, but it does them well. Plus, it also uses quality tuna - with all dishes you have a choice between maguro (bluefin tuna), chūtoro (medium fatty tuna), and ōtoro (very fatty tuna - expensive but oh so good).

I did a quick scan of the restaurant; the two most popular dishes (actually, the only two dishes being ordered) were the ōtoro sashimi and the ōtoro karage.

So, uh, since they both sounded so good...

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... I got both.

Tags: japan nara



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