Nara, Japan 奈良

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

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This small city in the Kansai region of Japan was, for a time eons ago the capital of Japan.  Today, it is a very pleasant city packed full of historical sites, temples and nature. And, being only a hop and a skip from Osaka, it is easily accessible by commuter train.

While often skipped over for its more famous neighbor Kyoto, Nara is a destination onto itself and compared to Kyoto, the city has done a finer job of preserving its history and has a much more intimate feeling with its quaint alleyways and green spaces spread throughout town.

As time was short, I did only a day trip from the regional giant of Osaka, but enjoyed it immensely and wish I had had more time to explore the many corners I’m sure I missed on my short excursion.

Any trip to Nara should include a nice long walk around the magnificent Nara Park.  A stroll, combined with some bike riding, which are both great ways to see the sights and take in the temples and shrines, which are strewn throughout the park area and the city as a whole are easy in pedestrian friendly Japan.

Along the way, it’s quite common to encounter some of the many deer grazing and roaming about on the temple grounds or meandering among the many stone lanterns that predominate, both of which add even more to the unique character of this remarkable little city.

If you’re planning a trip to the Kansai region, obviously Osaka and Kyoto will be on the itinerary, but any trip to the region should include a day in Nara as well.

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