Highlights from Nara

One of my favorite parts of being in Osaka was its close proximity with other fun cities, which made taking day trips really easy!  We decided to take two day trips, and our first one was to Nara.  This small town is just an easy hour train ride away, and we made sure to get there super early to explore all day long.

Unfortunately, this was one of the rainy days on our trips.  Most of the fun of the city is exploring the great outdoors in Nara Park, so for me this wasn't my favorite city that we visited.  But, there were still a lot of interesting things that we got to see and do!  Here are some highlights -

Bowing Deer

One of the major tourist attractions of Nara are the thousands of tame deer that roam around the park (and sometimes explore the city as well).  You'll see them everywhere, even in temples!  Vendors sell you cookies, and then the deer will approach you and bow to get a cookie.  It's crazy to see!  Sometimes the deer would get a bit aggressive and try to bite your pockets to get them, but in general they were gentle and sweet.

Great Buddha

The other thing that Nara is known for is having the world's largest bronze Buddha statue, which is housed in T┼Źdai-ji.

The statue truly was magnificent to see, as was the temple in general.  To get a better sense of how huge the statue is, picture these dimensions-
  • Height: 14.98 m (49 ft 2 in)
  • Face: 5.33 m (17 ft 6 in)
  • Eyes: 1.02 m (3 ft 4 in)
  • Nose: 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in)
  • Ears: 2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)

The buildings were originally constructed in 738, but were destroyed by earthquakes and fires.  The current structure was built in 1709 and is HUGE, but reportedly only 30% the size of the original.  Hard to believe!!

Mochi Pounding

I developed my love of mochi on this trip, and I was really excited to see it being made right in front of me at a famous shop in Nara. At the shop called Nakatanidou, you can see the process of pounding rice to make it into a sticky and sweet confection. 

It was so much fun to watch, and afterwards we were treated to a fresh, hot piece of mochi. So much fun!

Have you ever tried mochi?  Fan or not?


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