Japan Adventures // Nara + The Deer
Hello! I am officially sharing my first post about our travels in Japan! I wasn't exactly sure where to start, but I figured why not start from the beginning of our journey, in Nara! This was our first day of Japan and our plane arrived bright & early at 4am. We had to wait a few hours to redeem our train passes, but once we did, we took off on our four hour train ride straight for Nara! Now you may remember that I mentioned Nara, or more specifically all the deer that inhabit this place, in my Japan inspiration post. This was one spot we definitely weren't going to miss!
The park with all the deer was a short walk from the station, through bustling streets lined with shops and vendors. Luckily we were able to rent lockers in the train station to store all of our luggage in, so that was a definite life saver! I had already been dragging my belongings around from train to train like a little fool, so I was happy for a break (we weren't backpacking or anything on this trip, but we hadn't stopped at Dai's parents' house yet, which is where we were staying, so we had to lug everything with us).
Street vendors selling honey-smelling crackers to feed to the deer could be found on every corner throughout the park. They smelled pretty good actually and I was only slightly tempted to try a nibble (which I did not do, just for the record).
The deer know who has the food, and once they catch wind of it, they will follow you until you give in to them. Right after we purchased our crackers and were trying to make our way to the main part of the park, this deer became fixated on Dai and followed us for a good while. I just love the photo about and the progression of the scene in the photos below. Hilarious! Glad I caught that on camera.
This mama and daughter were just the cutest, and what I thought was most hilarious was that the deer wouldn't leave them be even though they didn't have any food. Also, I think the little girl was a good mix of frightened and entertained haha.
In addition to deer, there is also a huge temple named Todaiji Temple. As you can see, there were just busloads of students here to see this monument with their class, and of course, pet some deer. In fact, we saw many students in a lot of places we visited outside of Tokyo on weekdays, which became a kind of hilarious game of the American girl saying hi to all of them and making friends. Definitely a cultural highlight!
So, I know, this place is definitely a bizarre site to see. BUT really, it was awesome and I am so glad we went. All of the deer were actually very nice and super friendly. I even noticed that they would approach you and kind of bow. It was strange, but cool because I think they somehow knew their culture and that they were Japanese deer haha.
What adventure would be complete without some local snacks? Honey soft serve ice cream above (which, by the way, soft serve is found literally everywhere in Japan. And yes, this meant that I had ice cream basically every day of our trip. No regrets) and soy sauce flavored rice cracker below.
This photo pretty much sums this experience up and I think it is a good note to end this all on.
Hope you enjoyed the first installment of our Japan travels! Don't worry though, I will do my best not to spam this whole blog with talks of Japan forever ;)