On day four in the Kansai region, I took a day trip from Kyoto to Nara Deer Park. I had spent the last three days in the city visiting several shrines and temples, parks and forests, exploring Higashimaya Ward and attending a delightful tea ceremony.

Now it was time to venture out again to explore another wonderful destination outside the city.

A Day Trip From Kyoto to Nara: Getting There

Because I did not get the JR pass for this trip, I travelled to Nara via the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. From the Kintetsu-Nara Station, I followed the signs towards the deer park. I didn’t have to wonder if I was on the right path because I began to see a few deer along the sidewalk.

Nara Deer Park Day Trip from Kyoto

Day 4 in Kyoto: A Day Trip From Kyoto to Nara

Nara Park is home to more than a thousand free-roaming deer, considered sacred and protected national treasures. Here, visitors can interact with and feed the deer with special “deer crackers” (shika senbei) sold in the park.

Nara Deer Park in Autumn

This was certainly my favourite thing to do in the city. I bought a few crackers and was immediately hounded by these wild things! Some of them were sweet and gentle, and even bowed in exchange for the crackers, while others seemed more aggressive – being the wild animals that they are!

I made a short video about the bowing deers which you can watch below πŸ™‚

I spent hours walking around the park and interacting with my deer friends – see what I did there? πŸ™‚ No? Alright, let’s move on!

My planned itinerary for Nara was packed with visits to more temples, shrines and restaurants. I even planned a short hike as well! Nara isn’t just about the deer park, you see.

But I wound up ditching the itinerary to go with the flow. Also, by this time, I had been in Japan for a while and had seen my fair share of temples and shrines. I was going to skip them altogether in Nara, but in “going with the flow”, I still managed to stumble on a few.

Todaiji Temple
Todai-ji Temple in Spring by Rustam Kakar via Unsplash

After some time had passed, I traced my steps back to the bus and train stations for an onward trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine. I would end up spending hours shopping and eating at Yamato-Saidaiji Station because I couldn’t find the correct platform or tickets needed for the train to the shrine.

This little misadventure was delightful as I treated myself to delicious meals and snacks while watching trains go by from my window seat at a cafe.

Fushimi Inari

With a full belly and a clear head, I was able to navigate my way successfully to Fushimi Inari Shrine. This shrine is one of Kyoto’s most visited attractions for a reason. Thousands of vibrant red Torii gates line the winding path up to Mount Inari, forming picturesque tunnels.

fushimi inari shrine kyoto

Arriving in the afternoon meant that the place was densely populated, however, it only took a few minutes up the path to lose the crowd. Further away from the entrance gates, I enjoyed a quieter walk and a more pleasant experience.

Next, I went back to Gion, stopping at the famous Nishiki Food Market aka Kyoto’s Kitchen for dinner.

Nishiki Market Kyoto
Photo by Owen Roth on Unsplash

Nishiki Food Market

Nishiki Food Market Dinner

One of the things I read about Japan before visiting was how heavily cash-dependent the country was. So far, I had managed to get by without needing a lot of cash. I used my credit or Welcome Suica card to make several purchases but here, I needed cash as no stall I stumbled upon accepted card payments.

Luckily, there were a few ATMs nearby and I was able to indulge in the wide array of available fresh local cuisine.

And with that, my day trip from Kyoto came to an end. It was an eventful and enjoyable day out, and I loved every moment. The next day, I enjoyed a quick morning walk around Gion, stumbling upon yet another temple – Ryozen Kannon Temple.

Ryozen Kannon Temple Kyoto White Buddha

After failing to resist the urge to check it out, I paid the entrance fee to look around and watch the monks perform their daily prayers. And with that, my wonderful adventures in Kyoto came to an end. I returned to the hotel to pack my bags and head to my next destination, Osaka.

Discovering the Magic of Kyoto is the third and final part of my Discovering Kyoto Series. You can read the first part here and the second part here.

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  1. I enjoyed reading this post! Kyoto sounds incredible with its stunning temples, beautiful gardens, and delicious food. I can’t wait to visit someday and experience it all!

  2. Kyoto is a very beautiful place.