The Deer of Nara Park

Deer to My Heart

Hanayagura Observation Point

Hands-on Sushi School in Yamazoe

Nabekura Valley Dashi tasting Eizankou Hands-on Sushi School in Yamazoe Hands-on Sushi School in Yamazoe Shimenawa Nabekura Valley Yamazoe Village in Nara is the birthplace of Japanese culture. It is also the location of hands-on sushi school Ichiban Oishii Japan where you can learn how to make sushi, tempura, dashi and even osechi ryori, Japan’s […]

Nara Juvenile Prison

Front gate of prison built in 1908 Front gate Main building inside prison walls Front gate of prison built in 1908 If you are like me, probably the last place you would think of ever visiting while sightseeing would be a functioning prison! Thanks to a chance encounter while surfing the Internet, however, I came […]

Hiking the Yagyu Kaido

The pond in the "Hell Valley" near the lunch stop and pinnacle of the hike The Sarusawa Pond near the Visitor Center Fiery colors between the Ichi no Torii (first gate) and the Tobihino Open Space The deer of Nara Park were present until we got past the grounds of Kasuga Shrine. They were calm […]

Hirohashi Bairin Plum Festival

Venue: Hirohashi Bairin, Nara When: Mar 7th – Mar 28th 2021 For those who enjoy the beauty of plum blossoms, Nara's Hirohashi Bairin is a great place to visit. It's known as one of the best plum groves in all of the prefecture, and the grounds are home to around 5000 trees which bloom from […]

Hydrangea Season at Yatadera Temple

Venue: Yatadera Temple, Nara When: Jun 1st – Jul 10th 2021 From June 1st until July 10th each year, Nara's Yatadera Temple opens its sprawling hydrangea garden for the public to enjoy. The hydrangeas here were originally planted back in 1965 in a space of 25,000 square meters, and they now number in excess of […]

Japanese Imperial Graves in Nara

Area Map Japanese Imperial Graves in Nara Cycling Map, Heijo area Area Map If you travel around parts of Nara, including in the southern areas such as Asuka and near the Heijo palace site, you’re sure to see large wooded areas, surrounded by a moat of water. Although hard to discern from ground level, these […]

Kasuga Grand Shrine, Nara

Kasuga Tablets Kasuga Gate Kasuga Map Kasuga Tablets Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) is one of the oldest and most famous Japanese shrines in the central Nara area (Nara Park, which is one of the largest municipal parks in Japan at 525 hectares or 1297 acres). Both Nara Park and the Kasuga Shrine serve as […]

Katsuragi City’s Danjiri Matsuri

It's amazing that the guys on top of Ota's danjiri didn't fall off amid the tilting, spinning and running antics of their team's dance routine. Even with the ropes they had to hold onto it must have been a challenge The Nagao team pulls its danjiri to the festival grounds The dragon and shisa carvings […]

Kawasemi Boat Ride at Dorokyo Gorge

The trilateral Prefectural border is actually in the middle of the river just in front of the mouth of the small tributary. The clifftop from which the photo was taken is in Nara, the cliff on the left are in Mie Prefecture and the cliffs on the right are in Wakayama The jet boat from […]

Koriyama Castle Cherry Blossoms

Guardian lion and sakura, near the Zen temple Old Library with Castle Wall in Background Sakura Path in Castle Grounds Guardian lion and sakura, near the Zen temple If you feel you’d like a quieter, more local flower-viewing experience, Yamato Koriyama is located conveniently about 20 minutes by either JR or Kintetsu trains from Nara […]

Mechanical Toys & Puppet Museum

A sign at the entrance to the museum Entrance to the museum A boy playing with a sawfly toy Beautiful graden on a surrounding territory Not only children but adults are entertained here Mr. Hayashi While walking through Nara and looking at its houses you can see and feel its rich history in every element. […]

Mount Yoshino Sakura Festival

Incredible views Sakura fill the horizon Venue: Mount Yoshino, Nara When: Late Mar – Late Apr 2022 Japan has an absolute plethora of picturesque cherry blossom spots, and it's almost impossible to pick one that could be deemed as the country's best. In saying that, one that is constantly at or near the top of […]

Mt. Ikoma on the Nara Osaka Border

The amusement park and the view of Osaka from inside one of the walkways A closed cafe, an empty alleyway and drifting smoke The interior of the cafe. It looks like people left just yesterday A deserted amusement park is a unique and eerie place to be Go-karts under tarps for the season Passing the […]

Nara City Tourist Information

The historic former JR Nara Station building is now home to the Nara City Tourist Information Center The entrance to the Information Center closest to the East Gate of JR Nara Station Baggage storage reception Materials left over from the reconstruction of Heijokyo Palace were used to decorate the interior of the Information Center The […]

Nara Dreamland

The double corkscrew at The Screw Coaster. The Aska coaster and a relatively new car left behind. Exploring Aska. Climbing Aska. Descending Aska. Climbing Bobsleigh. I was first told about Nara’s abandoned amusement park, Dreamland, by a staff member from a hostel I was staying at in Tokyo. Like most of Japan’s best finds, the […]

Nara’s Mitarai Canyon

Fiery foliage along an abandoned trail above Mitarai Falls The Tenkawa Kawa-ai Bus Stop near the lower entrance to the Mitarai Canyon Hiking Course From the suspension bridge that is the start of the hiking course   Wooden arches like this one are placed at locations where the Mitarai Canyon Hiking Course meets or diverges […]

Nara Scenes

Feeding deer is one of the pleasures of Nara Taking a portrait I ran into beautiful fuji bonsai on my way in Girls in yukata and deer In Isuen Garden I felt relaxed Nice stone bridge Getting acquainted with deer With children and deer some places were quite crowded Such scenes were amazing for me! […]

Nara University Museum

Exhibition hall, main entrance Archaeological display Archeological display 2 Lebanon excavation display post-disaster preservation work Classroom Exhibition hall, main entrance Usually it’s some demented Hanshin Tigers baseball fan who, in a fit of either agony or ecstasy, tosses himself into Osaka’s polluted Dotombori, the extant remains of an ancient moat. A couple of decades ago, […]

Nara Velodrome

Nara Velodrome, from Heijo station side Nara velodrome, Akishinodera side entrance Nara Velodrome, from Heijo station side If you visit Japan you will find that if you want to gamble on sports there are very few venues where this is possible. All though many Japanese “gamble” on games like pachinko (this is not strictly legal […]

Nara City

The Todaiji Daibutsu Entrance of the Todaiji A deer on the driveway leading to Todaiji The stone lanterns of Kasuga Taisha The bronze lanterns of Kasuga Taisha The bronze lanterns of Kasuga Taisha A city rich in history and tradition, Nara today remains a testament to its former glory as a previous Capital and cultural […]

Naramachi Shopping District

early house made of clay and wood cake shop Naramachi Shopping District Japanese green tea and rice cake set Naramachi Naramachi Shopping District early house made of clay and wood When one visits Japan and sees all the modern buildings it is often hard to get a sense of what Japan looked like two hundred […]

Ninja Training at the Akame 48 Waterfalls

Ready to test your skills as a ninja? Several instructors available, some descendants of the ancient Iga clan Activities include weapons training such as throwing stars View demonstrations of actual ninja in their ancient mountain setting Waterfalls create an amazing backdrop Obstacle courses for climbing, mental training, infiltration and more designed for children and adults […]

Odai-ga-hara Hiking Trail

View of the Kumano Sea from Odai-ga-hara Wooden walkways make it easier to get around in some parts Beautiful scenery and a view of the Omine mountain range View of the Kumano Sea from Odai-ga-hara (Photo: Kenjiro Egashira) Odai-ga-hara is a plateau-shaped mountain located on the border of Nara and Mie Prefectures. There you will […]

Omizutori Ceremony Lecture

Nigatsudo Hall in the snow Todaiji Temple in Nara was opened in 752 and has operated continuously since that time. The Omizutori Ceremony has been taking place at Todaiji's Nigatsu-do Hall on the first of February for almost as long as Todaiji has been open. The Prefecture of Nara and Todaiji Temple are pleased to […]

Paths Less Traveled, Kurozuka Kofun

3rd Century Bronze Mirrors (in situ) Tenri Municipal Kurozuka Burial Mound Exhibition Hall Kurozuk Burial Mound 3rd Century Bronze Mirrors (in situ) (Photo: Matthew J. Eynon) In January of 1998 when reports of the discovery of 34 bronze mirrors (shinjūkyo) in the Kurozuka burial mound in Yanagimoto Village, Tenri City hit the newspapers and other […]

Picnic at Mount Wakakusa

Picnic with a view at Mount Wakakusa Exterior of the fenced Mount Wakakusa Toilet facilities at the foothill Wild grasses waved in the wind. Steps leading to mid-hill. Well-camouflaged. Picnic with a view at Mount Wakakusa The sun and the wind were in full force. Ahead of me lay a visual feast of endless green and blue. […]

Plum Blossoms at Tsukigase Plum Grove

Mid Feb Late Mar Plum trees coming to life with the backdrop of the Nabari River (Photo: Bakkai/CC BY SA 3.0) Venue: Tsukigase Plum Grove, Nara When: Mid Feb – Late Mar 2022 Plum blossoms occasionally get forgotten in the hype leading up to sakura season, but they shouldn't – they're beautiful, and there are […]

Practicing Shugendo on Mt. Omine

My two Shugendo guides scramble to the top of the Kane Kane Iwa in the first test of courage The gateway and bridge from the parking lot to the trail head A monument and statue of Fudomyo-sama,the Buddhist deity of discipline The trail head and gateway to Mt. Omine and the sacred land beyond The […]

Riverhead Forest Hiking Tour

The view from the diving log   Sometimes the trail required scambling over tree roots Moss on the rocks mirrored the forest above The view from a clear point on the trail   Takahaya (Chinese minnows – some of them big enough to fry in a pan), in the Amago Pool   From the road […]

Saidaiji station to Toushodaiji

Saidaiji temple Saidaiji temple south exit Map of Toshodaiji and Yakushiji area Street leading to Yakushiji from Toshodaiji, signposted on corner Entrance gate to Toshodaiji Genjo-Sanzoin-Saran Saidaiji temple Starting from Saidaiji station, leave via the north exit of the station, heading east past Nara Family department store towards Heijo Palace Park. You can either turn […]

Taimadera Temple

Main Garden Taimadera Temple Taimadera Temple Taimadera Temple Taimadera Temple Taimadera Temple Main Garden I am assigned to work in the countryside again after spending last year in a more suburban locale. This time I am working right in the center of an agricultural area. My new job is a 20-minute walk from the Kintetsu-Taimadera […]

The Azaleas of Mount Katsuragi

The azalea are starting to bloom View of the city View on the mountain In Japan, the cherry blossoms are highly anticipated by visitors and locals alike; however, they are not the only flowers that magnify the beauty of the scenery. I invite you to discover Mount Katsuragi’s Azaleas, in the south of the Nara […]

The Odaigahara Hill Climb

Riders battle their way up the steep Geki-zaka The sign in a bike check at Kami-Kitayama elementary and junior high school This countryside race has cutting edge chip technology to accurately clock start and finish times The sign in tents (native English speaking staff are on hand) My lodgings for the event Looking the other […]

The Odaigahara

Avatar realized The bus stop. Only 1 bus a day in and one back to Kamiichi Station at 3:30pm (1 more in either direction on weekends and holidays) In the forest on the path to the Daijakura With over 5 meters of annual precipitation there are lots of little streams and creeks   The path […]

The Tanize no Tsuribashi Bridge

Looking toward the Tanize entrance A man pauses  for a photo over the bridge's highest section People are like ants The Tanize no Tsuribashi from just north of the Tanize entrance The commemorative plaque noting the length (297.7 meters) and height (54 meters) and that it the longest bridge of its kind in Japan From […]

Totsukawa, Nara

Hiking in the hills of Totsukawa A mystical forest in Totsukawa A mystical forest in Totsukawa Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route The red suspension bridge to kohechi trail The imposing and twisted trunk of a giant sequoia Those interested in exploring Japan's great outdoors will find Totsukawa the ideal destination. Located in the mountainous region of […]

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