Nara Lantern Festival

Todaiji Buddha

On Thursday, my friends and I went to Nara for the Lantern Festival and let me tell you, it was beautiful.  Let me rephrase that, it was beautiful at night.  The afternoon was filled with a lot of sweat, sun, and more sweat.  When we first got to Nara Prefecture, we went to a soba restaurant that supposedly has the best soba.  Some of us decided not to eat there and split into two groups since the guy we were with wanted to get to Nara to walk around and see temples and shrines.  We did A LOT of walking and my feet were crying out in pain to me by the end of the day.


Nara is a very very beautiful place.  If I had the chance, I would live there because it’s just amazing.  Maybe eventually I would try to find a teaching job there, since I would love to live there.

Nara Shrine

We visited some temples and shrines throughout the city, but I would recommend Todaiji, which has the world’s largest bronze Buddha (shown in the first picture), and Toshodaiji.  I’m someone who loves taking their time at sites, but unfortunately the heat and the walking got the best of me.  I was more focused on not passing out rather than the sites.  I wish I spent more time at Toshodaiji (pictures are below), since it was my first time there and it seemed like there was a lot to see.  Toshodaiji was a peaceful area.




Deer roam around Nara, which is one of its charms.  You can buy food to feed the deer, but beware, the deer can get aggressive if you have food.  I like watching from afar.  And be careful where you step!

Deer in Nara

Once it got darker, we walked up a walkway lined with lanterns.  This led us to temples and shrines along the way.  The path eventually led us to Todaiji.  This was my second time to Todaiji, but this time it was at night and during the lantern festival.  It was beautiful with all the lanterns lighting up the temple.  However, there were SO many people there and we were pressed for time since we had to catch our train back to Mie, so we were rushed going through the temple.  If I had the chance, I would stay there and soak up the atmosphere.  There were monks praying, people praying, lanterns flickering, deer roaming… it was amazing.  You could also see Buddha’s face peering through the window on the temple.  

Lantern Festival Nara

Lantern Festival Nara

Lantern Festival Nara

Lantern Festival Nara

Isn’t it gorgeous?  It’s even more beautiful in person.  I’m so glad that I stuck it out through the day, even though I was super dehydrated and in pain, because I got to see all of this.  Nara is one of my favorite places in Japan and I can’t wait to be able to return again to enjoy it even more.


    • Mallory

      Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine how amazing it would look with autumn leaves. I’ve never experienced autumn leaves before, but I’m super excited to be able to see them. I really need to go back during that time.

  1. Melanie Fontaine

    Such a beautiful place! But I know the feeling of physical exhaustion you talk about – I have felt this way during many an exploration as well and it’s not very fun. Hope you could enjoy this place nonetheless! :)

    • Mallory

      I’ve gotten to the point where I’m exhausted in the morning, so I think it’s about time to take some relaxing time for myself. The only thing is that everyone always wants to do something or travel somewhere! This weekend will be my last trip for a while, so hopefully I can get some rest time before I have to start teaching. But I’m having such a great time travelling to all these places! I love seeing how beautiful it is here. I hope you’re having a great time in Norway!

      • Melanie Fontaine

        I’ve been traveling/on-the-go for the last three weeks and it’s gotten to the point where I’ve been constantly exhausted as well! Actually so exhausted that I’ve gotten pretty sick because my body had to force a break! In a way, I can’t wait for classes to start so I can get a proper routine started! :)

  2. Kristyn @ Milk + Crown

    Wow, that second photo is so green and lush! How beautiful :) I love all the lanterns. Seeing them all lit up must have been so magical!

    • Mallory

      I’ve always wanted to see a lantern festival and I can’t believe it happened within the first month I was here! I’m seriously in love with Nara.

  3. Erika

    Oooh! You know you really like a place if you like it even when you’re exhausted, hot, sweaty, and in pain! This Nara must have been something special! And it looks like it, too, from the pictures! I’m glad you had a good time and I hope you get a chance to spend a less rushed time there! :)

    • Mallory

      Yes! That’s so true! I can’t wait to be able to go back and to explore at my own pace (and wear more comfortable shoes). I’m sure I’ll be back again some time because it’s one of the closest major sites in Japan and there’s so much more to explore!

  4. Lily @ Away with Lily

    This looks beautiful! A lot more traditional looking lanterns than what we have in Korean Lantern Festivals haha I loved Nara when I visited – those cheeky deers kept picking things out of my coat pockets though!

    • Mallory

      Nara is one of my favorite cities here in Japan. It’s so beautiful and tranquil and not to mention, there are deer roaming around! I’m a little afraid to feed the deer, because I had friends who had deers basically pecking at them (pecking? Do deer even to that?).

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