Nara Park is one of the most popular autumn leaves watching site. People promenade here with family memebers and friends in the first two weeks of November when the leaves are most colorful The location is around the Nara National Museum.
There is something very special about Japanese gardens that I like very much. The trees are cut in a special and quite interesting way and you will see a lot of trees that are totally unknown in Europe or other parts of the world. Around the temples and also next to the Nara Hotel you will find some really interesting japanese gardens and trees.
In Kasuga Shrine,and of course also in other similar shrines, you can write your wishes on small wooden plates and hang them on the wall at a special place of the shrine. You can buy these wooden plates in the shrine against a small donation, some have a text already written on them, at some you can make your own text and of course you can buy also ready-to-go-wishes printed in english there.
My favorite wish was the one in my main photo !
After a certain time of hanging there, these wooden plates will be burned and that way Buddha gets to know them and might fullfill these wishes.
It is not expected that tourists will do it as well, but believers will always wash their hands in a special ceremony before entering any of the temple-areas. There is always a well next to the entrance and you will find several large ladles there in order to take some of the water and wash your hands and mouth. Our tourguide showed us how to use it in the correct way and how to set back the ladle so it can be used as well by the next believer in the most hygienical way.
Who-ever is able to slip through this column in one of the temples in Nara would live for 100 years or what-ever, I dont remember what the guide had told us, it was not my size anyway but it was a lot of fun to watch others to slip through.
For me it was facsinating to see such giant trunks of wood that were used in order to build these temples more than 800 years ago without our modern machineries.
In the first moment it reminded me a bit of fast-food-boxes, but the ones in Nara hotel are made of precious wood and look very elegant. And you get food-sticks and siver-cutlery to eat the food. Sidedishes with rice and some soup or rather a sauce are added as well by the waiter and we also got some instructions how to eat that kind of food in the correct way.
My favorite part was the desert, see it in my last photo, it was served also with a hot, steaming towel in the basket on the right of my photo, and it was ment in order to clean your hands afterwards.
This umbrella-safe is a great idea that I saw in the entrance of the luxury Nara-hotel and when you take a closer look, you can lock each and every umbrella there by a seperate lock, thats a really good idea, especially when you have some expensive umbrella.
And for the hotel the advantage is to keep the wet umbrellas out of the rooms and have them handy when leaving the hotel.
Nara is an important place of japanese history and that is why you will also see a lot of school-classes there and for me it was interesting to see their school-uniforms,because school-uniforms are totally unknown in Austria or Germany.
We also tried to talk to some of them, but even though they tried to speak some english, it was absolutely impossible to understand anything. Our local guide told us that the language-lessons in japanese schools are completely different from what is done in Europe, in Japan they rather learn just some phrases by heart and when-ever they cannot use these phrases in a conversation, they are not able or trained to create any other sentances than the one they had learned by heart.
Our tourguide had spent several years in Germany and was perfectly speaking german. We had a group of 4 german-speaking tourguides who followed our ship through Japan, because it was impossible to find good german-speaking guides in our other ports of call.
I had been in Nara in March, and it was raining a lot and the day before it was even snowing a bit, but the snow did not stay in the streets, but melted away in the moment it touched the ground. When you take a look at the globe you will see that this part of Japan is about the geographical hight of Los Angeles, Morocco or Israel. Nara is located: 34° 40' 52,7'' N, 135° 50' 53,71'' E
A perfect time to go to Nara will be for the festivities in August 14th and 15th, when all of the lanterns in the temple-district of Kasuga-Taisha will be lit in a special festival.
There are about 1200 deer running free in the temple-districts of Nara and they are considdered to be holy animals.There are a lot of food-stands where you can buy some cookies for them. In my personal experience it is best to keep watching the other tourists to do so, because once that you have given a single cookie to one of them they will follow you and hit you with their head for more and more cookies and it will be very hard to get rid of them, except that you are able to escape to one of the temples, that has some steps that these deer cannot step over.
Nara Hotel has such a great ambiente and interior, that it is obviously used also for photo-shootings and while taking a guided tour through the hotel we met this professional photo-model posing also for us during a break from her photo-shooting. She was patiently posing and smiling for several minutes for our group of some 200 tourists from Germany and Austria.
Always an arcade nearby, even in Nara. :)
They are often cute, colourful buildings full of people of all-ages. It is NECESSARY to every western tourist to visit at least 1 of these. Have some 100 JPY coins available.. there are much cute toys to be won! :-)
As being a daytrip-attraction from Tokyo, in the evenings it gets very quiet in Nara. If you can, stay as long as you can and walk around when the masses have left. Then the beauty of peaceful Nara will truely come to it's right and your waiting will be rewarded.
Japanese language is one of the most complicated! Three types of characters. Anyway, here's some useful phrases to keep in mind in case you need help.
IN AN EMERGENCY:Help! Tas'kete!
Call the police Keisatsu o yonde kudasai!
Thank you Arigato gozaimasu
Excuse Me Sumimasen
I don't understand Wakarimasen
Do you speak English? Eigo o hanashimasuka?
How are you? Ogenki desu ka ?
Good morning Ohayo gozaimasu
Good afternoon Konnichiwa
Good evening Konbanwa
Good night Oyasumi nasai
Good bye Sayonara