Day Five: Nara Day trip
Nara is a really easy day trip from Kyoto. Take the rapid JR train from Kyoto station, and you'll arrive in the ancient capital in about an hour. Is it just us, or is it starting to feel like every city in Japan has had a turn at being the capital...??
From the station it's an easy walk to Nara-Koen, a huge park containing many of Nara's famous sights, and you can spend a really nice day doing a lap of them. Don't miss Kofuku-ji and its five story pagoda, Jaw dropping Todai-ji with its Daibutsu (Great Buddha) and subtemples, Nigatsu-do and Sangatsu-do, Kasuga Taisha (a beautiful grand shinto shrine with long avenues of mossy stone lanterns, and of course, Nara's most famous residents, the bowing deer.
For about 200 yen you can buy a stack of deer sembei, special crackers designed for the deer. If you bow respectfully to a deer, many of them will bow back in return for a tasty reward! Try to approach a deer by itself so you don't get overwhelmed by a group (they sure want those biscuits!), and don't tease the deer! If they bow, give them the cracker.
Spend the night back in Kyoto.