2017 Apr 2
- Visited: Sunday 1:30 PM
- Todaji Temple – JPY 500 (~ USD 5)
There are direct trains from Tokyo that run often. It was about 1 hour one-way. I think the train tickets are pretty cheap but I got on using my train pass.
Naramachi was a neighbourhood South of the train station with lots of traditional-looking houses.
I came across a crowded mochi store on the way and bought one for JPY 130 (~ USD 1). I could also watch them make it, which was fun.
Mochi itself tasted very fresh and melted in my mouth.
The old town area felt historical, clean, and well-maintained. There weren’t many visitors walking around so I took a slow stroll around the neighbourhood.
There was a house with free admission, so I went in. It turned out to be a hidden gem! It did not have much furniture but the inside was very pretty. It was much larger than what it looked like in the front. They even had a clean bathroom for guests!
There was a small garden in the middle of the house.
There were wild deers roaming freely! The park was pretty large and there were deers everywhere. They were larger than I thought and the fur was stiff (yes I touched one). As you can imagine, there were tons of tourists trying to take selfies. A lot of deers seemed to be sleeping. According to the city all the deers were wild, but interestingly all of their horns were cut off. To be honest I did feel bad for the deers.
They had deer food (crackers) for purchase. Interestingly, I saw some of them turning away from that food.
On the way to the temple from the deer park, I ran into cherry blossom (finally)!
The temple was massive. Even the gate was huge. According to what I read on the site, it is the largest wooden building in the world, and it is actually 30% smaller than the original, which was built in the 8th century. It was re-built multiple times due to fire. There wasn’t much inside the building but just looking at the temple (you have to get the ticket to get past the gate) was worth the ticket.
It was a great day-trip from Kyoto. Deer park was very crowded but I would actually recommend Naramachi more, especially the house with free admission. Would I visit again? Probably not. I think this is one of those I’ve-been-there spots.