Nara

Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets

Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets

Although it’s often overshadowed by Kyoto, the city of Nara can also count itself among the pre-Tokyo capitals of Japan. As a matter of fact, Nara was to be the country’s first permanent capital, challenging the beliefs of the day that the death of an emperor contaminated the area and necessitated moving the base of power.

Nara no longer represents the same lofty political authority it once did, but the city is still the site of several important temples, as well as the impressive Nara Daibutsu, a bronze Buddha statue nearly 15 meters (49 feet) tall.

And yet, the first thing most people think of when they hear Nara is deer, since over 1,000 of the animals live inside Nara Park. But even with roughly 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of space to run around in, sometimes the deer like to stray outside the park’s boundaries, such as they do each July when they occupy this sidewalk and stretch of road.

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Good news, Nara residents! You’re in the middle of a huge upside-down pentagram!

Good news, Nara residents! You’re in the middle of a huge upside-down pentagram!

The pentagram is a simple shape with deep meanings. No matter what faith or race we come from that little star seems to conjure up thoughts and feelings more than mere circles or dodecahedrons could ever do to the masses.

So when someone tweeted an image from Google Maps with a pentagram laying upside-down over much of the Kansai Region of Japan, it generated quite a bit of buzz along with 13,000 retweets. It was created by joining several religiously significant locations in the area and has Japan’s ancient capital of Nara smack dab in the center.

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【TBT】In Japan, even cute animals obey the law

【TBT】In Japan, even cute animals obey the law

We’ve all no doubt heard of the polite deer in the city of Nara that have learned to bow their heads to tourists in order to get food, but did you know that they also obey the law and know how to cross the road properly?

Check out these photos for one incredibly cute example of how to use a pedestrian crossing!

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In Japan, even cute animals obey the law 【Photos】

In Japan, even cute animals obey the law 【Photos】

We’ve all no doubt heard of the polite deer in the city of Nara that have learned to bow their heads to tourists in order to get food, but did you know that they also obey the law and know how to cross the road properly?

Check out these photos for one incredibly cute example of how to use a pedestrian crossing!

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Nara resident trying to build house stumbles upon forgotten ruins on five separate occasions

Nara resident trying to build house stumbles upon forgotten ruins on five separate occasions

In 2010, Nara City in Nara Prefecture celebrated the 1,300th anniversary since becoming the imperial capital of Japan. During its relatively brief time as capital, the city flourished in culture so that even today the area is filled with ruins and relics of it rich distant past.

To have such a city overflowing with cultural heritage representing a romantic period in the history of Japan is both awesome and, well, a royal pain in the butt for anyone who wants to develop land there.

Just ask one poor guy, who tried to build a home to start his life in only to be shot down five times in a row after ruins were found on his land. Distraught and with nowhere else to turn he posted his woes on internet advice site MyNavi News Q & A for help. Here is his translated post.

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Places you simply must visit: Nara edition

Places you simply must visit: Nara edition

Often overlooked in favor of Kyoto, Nara Prefecture is one of the most beautiful and significant places—culturally and historically—in Japan. If you happen to be traveling in the Kansai region, we cannot urge you enough to make the time to swing by!

In fact, there’s so much to see that we can’t possibly tell you about every amazing place in Nara, but here are a few of our favorites!

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We Try Fried Piranha, Even Dead and Cooked It’s Pretty Dangerous

We Try Fried Piranha, Even Dead and Cooked It’s Pretty Dangerous

Nara Kenko Land is a well-known spa here in Japan which offers pools, baths, massages, and exercise equipment.

However, for a limited time they are holding the “Big Amazon Mysterious Fish Exhibit” giving us a rare chance to eat the South American river’s fish, including the deadly piranha.

Suspicious that a health spa would offer edible piranhas, our lovely reporter Usagi went down to check it out and perhaps eat a fish that eats people.

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Nara Noodle Shop’s Revolutionary and Fun Way to Eat Udon From a Draw String Bag!

Nara Noodle Shop’s Revolutionary and Fun Way to Eat Udon From a Draw String Bag!

As fall turns into winter, Japanese people look to food such as hot noodle dishes as a tasty way to warm up.  Udon noodles, in particular, are great during the winter, and nothing beats slurping up a steaming bowl of udon on a cold day.

We discovered a unique way to eat hot udon noodles at Mentouan, a noodle shop in Nara.  When you order a bowl of udon at Mentouan, you are presented with what appears to be a small pouch floating in broth…but you can’t see the noodles!

Following his report of Kyoto’s gigantic one-noodle udon, our resident foodie Kuzo went to Mentouan to try this “invisible udon” for himself. Read More

TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

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