Nara
Matee Nuserm / 123RF
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Nara

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

Just like Kyoto, which would be its successor as the country's capital, it is a landmark spot of Japanese traditions. An hour by train from Kyoto, Nara is a great place to visit for a day. Relatively speaking, the city itself isn't all that interesting. However, the deer park is easy to reach from the train station, making it possible for visitors to meet these creatures, believed to be messengers of the Shinto gods and who roam around in complete freedom. Be careful not to leave anything hanging out of your pockets; the deer are used to being fed biscuits, which are sold just about everywhere, and there is no limit to their gluttony, except for your vigilance! Visitors will probably be interested in its museums and especially the Nara National Museum, which houses a beautiful collection of Buddhist art. However, it is the temples that people really come to see in Nara, especially the Todaiji, one of the oldest. The largest wooden construction in the world, it serves as a reminder that Buddhism, which was imported to the archipelago, really took off from here. Inside, a huge, bronze, 16m-high Buddha represents the fervour of this religion's followers. Some of the other popular religious spots are the Kasuga Sanctuary dedicated to Shintoism, and the Kofokuji, which is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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