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.
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!
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.
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.