Nara is a city located just outside of the more well-known city of Kyoto. I came here because my cousin lives and attends school in this area. Nara is most famous (and deservingly so) for Nara Park. When you first arrive to the park, you will notice there are rampant deer running around. Growing up in the suburbs of America, I was used to labeling deer merely as moving cones that scare me while driving at night on roadways.


In Nara Park, deer are protected by law and are thus treated very respectfully. Children will probably get the most kick out of seeing the hundreds of deer running around. Make sure you buy a pack of Senbei (rice crackers) at a stand for 150 yen to feed the deer. Alas, the Nara Park is not just about deer, but also rich culture and religion.


Located in the park are numerous shrines and temples, most notably Daibutsu, the largest Buddha statue in the entire country. Walking through the park, you will get to see various Buddhist temples while strolling with the deer. Every temple houses monuments significant to Japanese culture and religion; all stories are written out in English as well. Nara is a rather small city packed with a lot of people, but being able to go to Nara Park was quite enjoyable because of the various shrines and, of course, the deer.

by Kohshi A. Itagaki