Sep 2012
Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Travel by Design
Must See Kansai (Part 2)

For part 1, read here.

After Kyoto, the other parts we wanted to see are Nara and Himeji. We availed ourselves of a three-day pass for West JR Line (JPY5500/person) at the Kyoto Station early the following day.

We read that the Inari Station is on the same line as Nara. So we decided to stop here first thing as the shrine, unlike temples, is open at any time (no entrance fee).

The Inari Shrine is walking distance from the train station

Fushimi Inari Taisha

The Inari Shrine was one of the locations for the film, Memoirs of a Geisha. The path lined with thousands of torii as seen here leads to the inner shrine (the young Chiyo ran through these gates after her first encounter with the Chairman).

Then to Nara.

We stopped at the Tourist Information Center and had our maps stamped. Then, some food.

We stopped for food at this roadside restaurant

Hand-drawn menu (so you just pick and point)

With happy tummies, we found our way to the three-storey pagoda of the Kofukuji temple.

The Three-Storey Pagoda


Five-storey Pagoda

A little further, we encountered our first herd of deers at the Five-storey Pagoda which is still part of the Kofukuji temple, considered the second tallest pagoda in Japan at 50 meters.

The road that we took from the Nara Tourist Information Center terminates at the Ichi-no Torii Gate of the Katsuga Taisha Shrine. This was followed by a walk in the park, literally. With herds of deers to boot. We even bought a bunch of shika senbei (JPY150) which are crackers to feed the deers with. There are many sellers inside the park. 


Kasuga Taisha Torii Gate is smaller than that of Inari

Oh, dear! Deers!

Instead of going straight to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, we decided to first see the Todaiji Temple, the landmark of Nara.

Nandaimon Gate

Nandaimon Gate


Gate of the Daibutsuden Hall
You can visit the Daibutsuden Hall for a fee (packaged with the museum)

We then walked back and chose the path that led to the Kasuga Shrine.


Kasuga Taisha's stone marker pretty much explains its significance

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

After a full day of walking, we took the Express train back to Kyoto.



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