A "Zen" Experience In Nara, Japan

in Haveyoubeenhere4 months ago (edited)

A short trip away from Osaka's buzzing urban lifestyle, to the quieter rural City of Nara, had me feeling completely ZEN-tered, as I tuned out the noise and chaos of onlookers at one of the city's many temples.

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'Feeling a "ZEN" Energy '

Nara, once the capital of Japan, is now a modern tourist city, home to many historical temples, landmarks and national monuments, and a rich history behind it.

Everything seems to move at a slower pace in Nara, and along the streets you can observe ladies elegantly dressed in traditional kimonos, executing the "art of slow walking" to perfection.



Arriving Nara

Traveling from Osaka, via train, using our (Japan Rail) JR pass, we arrived at the Nara City Tourist Information Centre, next to the JR Nara Station. There, you'll find English speaking agents who politely distribute maps highlighting all the popular tourist locations and temples, and offer suggestions on the best way to get around the city.

Sightseeing Map & Guide Compliments of Nara City Tourist Center
( #pinmapple )



Nara is a core city bordering Kyoto, with a total area of 276.84km and an estimated population of 360,310.
It's fairly easy and straightforward to traverse across the city by foot, bus or there's an option for renting bikes. However, if you prefer to have a more "zen" day, the idea of feeding deers might be a more appealing option.

Street Scenes Around Nara

Along Sanjodori Street leading to Nara Park and Kohfukuji Temple.




Characteristically Japanese Architecture (of course)





Inside a Plaza

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Nara Dot FM 78.4 MHz Radio Station Live (so cool!)


There are 8 Major World Heritage Sites in Nara

(A picture of the List of temples and attractions to see, printed on the Sightseeing Guide Provided by Nara Tourist Centre)

(and my collated edition :) :)

The main World Heritage Sites and attractions which showcase the city's rich history are protected temples, shrines, palace sites and forest, namely:

Time (by foot) Between Each Temple

It's an estimated time of 20 mins walk to get to and from each temple / attraction which is dispersed across the city.
We took our first stroll to the Kohfukuji Temple which gave us a complete zen experience, before we hung out with our "Deer Friends" at the Nara Park.

Kohfukuji Temple

Originally founded in the 7th century, 2010 marked the 1300 anniversary of the foundation of the temple. The five-storey pagoda, a symbol of Nara City, was reconstructed about 600 years ago (1426) after it had burnt down five times. A lot of national treasures and cultural treasures are exhibited at the temple's museum.

Source: Nara Sightseeing Guide from Nara City Tourist centre


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Let go of attachments and embrace living fully in the present moment. - Zen Buddhism

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Happiness does not come from any outside achievement. Instead it believes that true inner peace comes from within. _ Zen Buddhism

There's the option of taking the bus too :) but we took the scenic footpaths leading to our "deer friends".


Nara Park

The Deer is dear in Nara, and they're symbolic of the city and protected as natural monuments, and are famous across Japan. You have a chance to purchase sugar-free deer crackers made of wheat flour and rice bran (they don't eat human food), however, the park deer are wild animals and grass is their main diet.

"Zen"-ed Deers


'Deers are not the docile creatures they appear to be. If the deer is angry, don't dare get too close to the deer my dears.'


These two were not playing. They do hold grudges. My husband @scubahead and I, actually witnessed one of these two single out a spectator at the end of his fight and he performed a "buck" up the backside of the specific spectator twice. Maybe the spectator tried to referee the deer fight ...obviously it wasn't a good idea.


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Couple making new deer friends.

Some of the other attractions to see in Nara are:

  • Nara National Museum (Make room on your person for your garbage, as there are NO garbage bins across the park)
  • Isuien Garden
  • Yoshiken-Garden

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I love Japan overall! I promise you there's something "calming" about Nara. Maybe it's the temples, the deers, or just the contrasting speed at which everything transpires in Osaka (which is an amazing city).

My memories will live on forever. I also aspire a feeling of being in total zen every day. Just a reminder, relax, and don't worry about the things you cannot change.
Carpe Diem!

Thank you for reading.

So long till my next blog!


who's that sexy guy in the Grey shirt??

Someone affiliated to Cebu Dive Centre, Moalboal Philippines it seems.... Oh, it's @scubahead - you!


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Cheers Mate! 😊

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We're so keen to get to Japan. My sister in law is Japanese, been in Australia for many years but her parents still live in Japan...We're planning to go there with my brother and her for a truly immersive Japanese experience. The culture is so ancient and precise I guess is a good word, which appeals to my OCDness...I like structure and form.

This is a nice post, thanks for the image and some dialogue. Nice work, keep it up.

Oh thank you!

I had a long history of working with Japanese, and Japan had always been my ultimate dream country to visit. My 1st trip was to Tokyo and I absolutely LOVED it. Osaka is fantastic too :)

My only regret about Osaka was that I visited it at the end of my month long trip to the UK, so by then my batteries were on low. However, Nara totally recharged my batteries (Utter "Zen"!).

You MUST visit! Your sis-in-law is a big advantage. Book a decent time, because it takes sometime to get your head around the railway system.

I love the quirkiness of everything Japanese 🙃😁

I won't have to worry about the rail system, we'll have a private guide! Lol.

We're looking forward to planning the trip and to doing some things that the average tourist probably wouldn't do simply because we'll have locals on the ground to deepen the experience.

It seems you had a great time there and would definitely go back.

We would go back to Japan in a heart beat!!

Cycling is a nice option for getting around the off-beaten tracks.
You'll have the time of your life.

That's a post to look forward to :)

I'm not sure when it's going to happen, lining up the four of us as far as schedules go will be difficult, but we're in talks about it and are hopeful we can make something happen. When covid has buggered off it'll be on! :)

I totally understand!

All good wishes until then :)

Most people just focus on Nara Park when they go to Nara (myself included 😂) so glad that you walked around town and visitd the temples and shrines as well.

Yes!😊 Thank you! It's an amazing city with a great aura.
I'll definitely return for some more exploration into non-tourist areas.

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Oh, beautiful Japan! Nara indeed looks like a place to find your zen. 😍
And the deers! I'd be stoked just to have a glimpse of them.

Thank you I really love Japan too:)!
All you have to do is get there😀 and you're guaranteed to see a deer. They love to wander off. You'll quickly fall in love with them, just remember the deer is a wild animal, so their actions can be unpredictable.