Nara, Japan

Nara was a destination that both Jess and I had been really looking forward to. We were particularly interested in seeing the deer that roam the area. 

What we didn’t expect, though, was the huge number of deer. Hours were spent photographing and feeding them as we wandered through Nara Park and its surrounding streets, and visited Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Todaiji Temple. 

While most of the deer were pretty friendly and relaxed, some got a little too excited/aggressive at the sight of food or a bag. But what a fascinating animal.  

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto was a huge contrast to Tokyo. Jess and I stayed at a traditional hostel in a quiet area of Shimogyō-ku, void of the bustling nightlife and seediness of Shinjuku.  

It’s too hard to pick a highlight from Kyoto. Although Jess and I were only in Kyoto for a few days, we visited so many beautiful spots.

We checked out Ginkakuji Temple (and its garden), Nanzenji Temple and Kiyomizudera Temple on our first day.

Our second day was spent in Nara (I’ll share photos from this day in a separate blog post).  

But it was our third and final day in Kyoto that was the most busy. First stop was Kinkakuji Temple, an impressive piece of architecture with its top two floors covered in gold leaf.

Next was the district of Arashiyama where we walked through the famous bamboo groves, enjoyed a rickshaw ride and visited the Iwatayama Monkey Park.  

We ended the day at the torii gate-covered hiking trail at Fushimi Inari Shrine. 

Moto-Hakone, Japan

One of my highlights from Japan was a day trip to Moto-Hakone, a popular area for viewing Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we were unable to see the mountain on the day we visited. Instead, Jess and I enjoyed the beautiful town, surrounding scenery and a nice meal for lunch.  

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