Nara is one of the old capitals of the Japanese empire. And a special one.

Nara is one of the old capitals of the Japanese empire. And a special one. There are many mysterious traditions lingering around the Japanese Island like this one: Due to Shinto-Tradition every time an emperor died the capital had to be changed, hence death was sticking to the old royal walls.

This is kind of funny because Japan isn’t such a massive continent were you can randomly chose a town to be the main city: With the uprising of Buddhism this superstition lost its grip and in 710 Nara was declared the first real capital of Japan. Some of the historic sites are still alive and kicking in Nara and eight of them met the UNESCO world heritage criteria in 1998, which makes this little town one of the must-see destinations.

There is one place, though, which really will rock your world in Nara: Nara-Koen. This giant Park takes up a large part of the whole city and was created in 1880 on top of wasteland. Nonetheless it is home to many historic temples and religious sites. The thing that is most striking about the park is, that it is inhabited by deer. More than 1200 deers live their lives on the greens, the stones and streets of the park. It is an awkward encounter, when one is entering the park and the animals are next to you and you are the visitor. There are no fences and borders, you just have to get along. In Shinto-times deers were said to be gods and that is the origin of the whole thing: And hey, if they have rat-temples in India, they can surely build a big living room for these fellows: For 150 yen you can buy special deer-biscuits and feed them to the furies. And you better them, because they know the game and demand the payment for the spectacle. Watch out for the little ones, because some of the mean deer like to stub children in the sand, just because it is fun for them. Which creates some even bigger spectacle, when mean parents are keen on mean deer.

This is more fatal then Celebrity death match, let me tell you. You can take the train or metro from Kyoto to Nara, take something to read, because the ride will be a long one. If you arrive you just follow the masses of tourist and actually you just have to take the Sanjo-Dori, which is heading straight from the station.


written by wil6ka on 2008-08-21 #places #park #history #animals #location #nara

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