WHENyou make your first trip to Japan it’s very likely that you end up in Tokyo and Kyoto. I did because I wanted to get a taste of modern Japan in Tokyo and experience the tradional part in Kyoto. If you visit Kyoto why not make a short trip to some other nice cities in the surrounding, like Nara?

History and arrival

You can reach Nara by train when coming from Kyoto in about 45 minutes so it’s neither complicated nor expensive. Nara has been the capital of Japan between the years 710 and 794 and you can still see much of the past in the city. The main attraction for sure is Nara Park – if you only have one day in Nara (like in my case) there is enough to see on the 2×4 kilometres area for the whole day. So what makes Nara Park the main attraction of the city?

Sika Deer

In Nara Park more than 1200 Sika Deer populate the area. they were considered sacred so hunting and killing them was not allowed. Nowadays they are national treasures so they are protected as well. They are quite trusting or let’s say intrusive. As long as you don’t have any food on you they don’t care much but things start getting interesting when you buy some of the food the many merchants sell in the park. Immediately you get surrounded by a bunch of deer and they begin to remind you that they want to be fed by biting you in the hip :). Cute but rather scary for some people I can imagine. Don’t worry though, nobody has been eaten (yet) in the park as far as I know.

For the close-up shots of the deer I used my Olympus PEN E-P5 with the Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye lens. For the portraits the Olympus O-MD E-M1 with the M.Zuiko 75mm lens attached was used. Why the M.Zuiko 75mm is my favorite lens can be read in the corresponding article on this page. Let me show you some impressions from the deer:

Temples and shrines

Besides the deer, the temples and shrines are the main attractions of Nara Park. You can see e.g. Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and Kasuga-Taisha – all of them quite famous and worth a visit. For the pictures of the temples I used the Sony A6000 with the ultrawide angle lens SEL1018 in addition to the equipment mentioned above. Normally you are not allowed to use tripods in the temples so a good stabilzer helps to prevent blur in your pictures. Here are some impressions from the temples:

Garden and landscape

Nara Park is beautiful and you should spend some time there without hurrying from attraction to attraction. Take your time and enjoy the landscape and architecture. The students are usually very nice also, if they come from less touristy places they get quite excited to see a gaijin in Nara :).

These are some final photos from Nara. Do you have any further tips for the place? Please write them down in the comments!


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Pierre Aden

I'm a photographer located in Frankfurt, Germany. When I am not travelling / taking pictures I like to play Table Tennis / Squash or watch TV Series. I work in a German bank in the Anti-Money-Laundering department.

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