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Nara - Canberra, Australia Sister City

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Landing in Tokyo is like landing in the home you never knew you had.  To be immersed in the busy city with its politeness and sense of fun was a joy.But we, (my wife and I) had a date with the Canberra's sister city Nara and after a day of capturing our senses and getting to grip with Tokyo Station
(we had Shinjuku already down pat due to previous trips) TS was a (relative) breeze).  

When on a multi-city journey through Japan, I always recommend the Japan Railways (JR) rail card.  Removes all the hassle and is like gold, plus is a very economical way to travel Japan on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train).

The Nara period was AD 710-784 in Japanese history, the period in which the imperial government was at Nara, and Sinicization and Buddhism were most highly developed.  Nara, was Japan's first permanent capital and was modelled on the Chinese T'ang dynasty (618-907) capital, Ch'ang-an. Nara artisans produced refined Buddhist sculpture and erected grand Buddhist temples. (Britannica, internet)

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Nara is a nice Japanese city and has a strong Buddhist flavour .  Nara is not very big but of huge cultural importance.  The Nara Park is a public park located in the city at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1300s and is one of the oldest parks in Japan. One of the claims to fame is the deer population that has free reign (lol) in the park.  The deer are everywhere and are a treat particularly for tourists.  Deer biscuits are 150 yen and it is a lovely way to spend a few hours.  There is much to see in the park and a day's visit will not disappoint.  Nara (outside the park) has a lot to offer but you do need to do your research (like, who knew about the famous sake distillery beside the railway station?).  We were lucky to arrive during the candle ceremony that went on for a few nights but even so Nara is lovely place to visit and we would be happy to go back again to visit those parts that are off the slightly beaten track.

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There is some really nice shopping but does not have the range as Tokyo does due to its size.  It has a nice old town feel as well with many streets as they have been for many years and there is always something eclectic which in the main is so Japanese.  Could I live in Nara?  Absolutely, it offers the peace and tranquillity that people search for in their lives but rarely find. Nara is worth a day tour if your trapped by time, however if you can spend more than a day, there is so much more to enjoy

Greg Dennis

 

 


 

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