1000 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type



Date of travel

March, 2016

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Our self-guided itinerary suggested a day trip from Kyoto to Nara, Japan’s capital from 710 to 784. Whilst it promised temples, which we’d seen plenty of, the main draw was the deer which roam wild.

Following a 45 minute train journey, we eventually found tourist information and a map.

We walked down the main street, Sanjo Dori, lined with cafes and souvenir shops. On reaching the park area we saw our first landmark, Sawusawa pond. It was large, full of murky water and so uninteresting, that none of us were tempted to photograph it.

However, we then started to see the deer and our cameras were quickly snapping. We bought ‘deer biscuits’ for ¥150 – 8 biscuits similar to digestives in size and colour although I can’t comment on the taste. We tempted the deer closer although they were so tame they needed little persuasion. Some were obviously hungry: one snatched a map from an unsuspecting tourist and proceeded to eat it whilst another grabbed a plastic bag containing a bread loaf from a young girl. Eventually after seeing and photographing so many deer, we decided it was more interesting watching them approach unsuspecting tourists: a young Australian boy wailed profusely having being gently head butted from behind. All the deer had been disbudded and we could understand why. Whilst they looked cute, they could pack a punch.

Our first major site was the five-storey pagoda and Kofukuji Temple founded in the 7th century. However, it was currently being refurbished and not due to be completed until 2018 so we walked on and settled for a quick drink stop.

Refreshed, we continued to Todaiji Temple and paid ¥500 (£3.30) to enter. The main hall, the largest wooden building in the world, housed a huge bronze Buddha alongside several smaller Buddhist statues as well as wooden models of the former and current building. A large wooden pillar at the exit had a hole in its base the same size as the Buddha’s nostril. If you could squeeze through the opening, you’re granted enlightenment in their next life. Despite that attraction, we didn’t embarrass ourselves in case we got stuck.

Waking on, we passed the entrance to gardens which for some reason weren’t on our map, so carried on to the Kasuga Taisha shrine. Whilst the walk was up a long steep drive, beautiful moss-covered stone lanterns, donated by worshippers, lined the path. They’re only lit twice a year during two Lantern Festivals, in February and August, which must be a stunning sight. As we were now well into our Japanese trip, we’d seen enough temples and shrines and strolled back into town and the train home.

This was a big walking day and the app on our phones showed we’d done over 16,000 steps. However, there is a bus alternative and lots more temples and shrines to see if you have the stamina.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.