Nara has always been on my travel bucket list. Ever since I was a poor college student studying abroad in Tokyo, I’ve always wanted to explore the many temples and feed the famous Nara deer! We had a day saved to visit Nara while in staying in Osaka. The only day we were able to visit Nara happened to be the day with the worst weather during our trip. But Nara was still absolutely beautiful!
How to Get There
Nara is easily accessible from Osaka and Kyoto. From Osaka we hopped on the Rapid Express train on the Kintetsu Nara Line to Nara Station. It took 39 minutes for 560 yen. You can also take the JR from Osaka Station via the Rapid Yamatoji Line.
From Kyoto, you can take the JR Miyakoji Rapid train or the the Kintetsu Nara Line. The Kintetsu Nara Station is much closer to the sights so I’d recommend that train line over the JR.
What To See
I wasn’t able to see every temple on my list due to the weather but we were able to explore the gardens and temples with little crowds. The highlight was Isui-en. It was almost entirely empty and filled with autumn foliage. We took a free guided tour to learn more about the garden’s history then spent time wandering around on our own. We grabbed tea as well to admire the garden and avoid the rain.
Afterwards we went to Todai-ji, walked around Nara Park, grabbed ramen by the station, and then went to Kōfuku-ji. Visiting Nara was such a treat, especially getting to witness the deer bowing!