[I See Japan] Short Tourist Diary ~ In Nara 【我眼中的日本】旅行小記~奈良篇 (EN/CN ver. 中英雙語）
First of all, I really recommend visiting Nara (or generally speaking, Japan) in April, the season of Cherry Blossom (Sakura). If it happens to be clear after a rainy day, the view will be really amazing. Another best time to visit Japan is Autumn, if you are also interested in maples (or red leaves, aka "momiji").
Nara is close to Kyoto prefecture, so tourists can have a round trip between Nara and Kyoto within a single day. It is also a nice option to spare a night in Nara. There are some special hotels, and each of them may have 10-20 rooms only. All rooms are furnished with Tatami, and hot spring is also provided! Guests can also request the hotel to provide local food, and every dish is pretty delicate and delicious. After all, the experience can be really special.
Take JR from Kyoto to Nara, and there is a shopping mall right at the exit. The shopping mall is quiet and clean, with delicious food and cute small gifts. In some holidays, there will be special events, such as parade.
As for me, I like Kyoto and Nara better, compared to Tokyo. Kyoto gives me Japanese culture and traditions, while Nara gives me a sense a serenity. While staying in Nara and walking along any road, I feel like at that moment I can temporarily stay away from city, and embrace with nature. Trust me, in Nara you will find peace where time seems to flow more slowly when you deeply sink into it.
Of course, deers are the star of Nara! Take time to take picture with them, and you can even feed them with biscuit-alike food which is sold by local people (don't feed them with your own food). Be careful that in most cases, deers are gentle, but they may bite you or even kick you as a naughty kid (especially if you are holding food in your hand). Just hide the food, if you don't want them to get close to you or follow you.
Toudaij is a local landmark in Nara. It is a traditional Japanese temple. Write a blessing and hope that it will come true!
Other sightseeing remains to be explored by yourself! Keep in mind, while in Nara, you don't have to set any objective like "I have to go some place or eat some special food"; Just slow down, and "waste" your time as you like. Surprise may be hidden in any moment, isn't it?