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Japan Travel Tips: Nara

Nara is the capital city of the Nara Prefecture. It is home to a number of shrines, temples and ruins but is probably most well known outside of Japan for the deer that walk the city freely.

Below is a list of places that we visited during our stay in April of 2016.

Nara Park

While hundreds of tame sika deer (also known as the spotted deer or the Japanese deer) roam the city the majority of them are located in Nara Park. Inside the park you will find dozens of vendors selling "deer crackers" that you can feed the deer. Most of the deer have actually learned to bow to anyone holding a cracker to ask for a treat.

Nara Park is barely a 10 minute walk from Nara Station and is a place you absolutely must visit. Not only is seeing deer up close and feeding them crackers fun but the park itself is beautiful and home to a number of shrines and temples that are also worth seeing.

Tōdai-ji Temple

In Nara Park resides the Tōdai-ji temple. It is the world's largest wooden structure and houses the largest bronze statue of the Buddha. It is a beautiful sight to behold and should be visited by anyone going to Nara Park.

Wata Wata Owl Cafe

Sanjō-dori is the main street that connects Nara Station to Nara Park and on our walk back to the station we came across an owl cafe called Wata Wata. Naturally we could not resist going inside and neither should you.

We got to see and pet over 13 different owls and even hold one. It only cost 1300 yen for an hour and admission came with a free drink. I would highly recommend checking out this owl cafe if you are in Nara.


Also along Sanjō-dori is a mochi shop called Nakatanidou. What is special about this shop is that you can actually watch the mochi get made and I promise you it is an absolutely draw dropping experience. That video doesn't do the process justice. When you are there in person and see how fast their hands and hammers are moving you honestly cannot believe your eyes. I was constantly on edge just waiting for some gruesome incident to occur.