Oh, you like deer? Huh, looks like Nara Park is in your hit range. Home to hundreds of freely roaming deer, Nara attracts tourists in and outside of Japan to its wonderful land of deer crackers and the occasional poop. I’m not joking. Please be careful while feeding the deer because you might slip. If you’re going to go anywhere though, come here because those working in the area are quick with their hands to cleaning up any droppings.
Speaking of deer crackers, make sure to bring a good 400 yen or so for feeding rights; one packet costs 100 yen, but you will find out that these deer are always hungry. Some even bow to you when you hold out a cracker, and while most of them are non-aggressive, there are a few that could be a bit pushy if you hide food from them. Another tip, keep your belongings close and paper material out of reach.
There are plenty of shrines at the park and just right out of Kintetsu Nara station is Higashimuki Shopping Street (Yes, another shopping street). If you have time, I recommend seeing the Buddhist temples and taking a stroll or renting a bike around town. Nara, in my opinion, is similar to historical areas in Kyoto but without the mass hoards of people.
Kyoto – Gion
Well, well, well Kyoto, we meet once again. I personally love Kyoto. The area is beautiful, the food is delicious, the matcha… so matcha matcha! There are many parts of Kyoto I have yet visited. On this trip I went to Gion, a destination crowded with tourists and locals. The very essence of the city still has a traditional feel to the air. Sure, along the the river you will see live music, street vendors, and selfie sticks galore, but all in all, the Gion is a must-see when visiting Kyoto.
No exact directions here since each exit is a different part of Nara Park and Gion… but … Listen here… Before jumping the gun and hopping on a train, you better keep a good eye out on the type of train. This varies from local, semi-express, limited-express, and rapid categories. For each one there are different number of stops, and if you get on the wrong train, well you might be taking some extra twists and turns. No worries though, if you get off before reaching the opposite end of your destination, just hop off and get back onto the train with the correct category. At every station there will be a billboard with train schedules and the time at which each one will arrive, so make sure to check if you are unsure!