Looking for something to do on the weekend? Why not have a day trip to Nara?
With Kobe so close to other major cities in the Kansai region, its easy get out and about for the day.
Nara is roughly a two hour train ride east of Kobe. From Sanomiya station you can simply take the Hanshin Line straight through to Nara, no change overs. Also both Sanomiya and Kintetsu-Nara are the last stops at either end of the Hanshin line so you’ll also be sure to have a seat all the way through.
Once you reach Kintetsu-Nara station, you simply follow the overhead signs towards the exit and it brings you up onto the main road. The main road runs straight down to the Nara parklands and to all the main touristy areas.
On your right, upon coming up out of the station, there is a small shopping arcade which has plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops and plenty of foreign tourists. A good place to get a bite to eat before heading on or a great place to get souvenirs on your way home.
Heading further up the main road on your right you will come to Kofuku-ji (興福寺). This large area has a temple and a few buildings and also has a large 5 storey pagoda. It is also a great place to see your first few deer which you can pat as they are roam around the grounds.
After having a look around the grounds of Kofuku-ji, head back out to the main road and continue along for another 5-10 minutes and you will reach the road that leads to Todai-ji (東大寺). On the way there you will pass many parks filled with deer. You can’t miss it as the temple is so huge that you can see it from far away and all the tourists and people walking up and down the road make it a give away…and there are more deer. You can buy deer food to feed them however, just be aware that they probably will bite, kick, butt, chase you and get all up in your face in general. It’s funny watching it happen to other people though. The road leading to Todai-ji has a few stalls and shops along it so you can get some snacks, market food or souvenirs.
On along the road to Todaiji you will go through some big gates, which are good for a photo. Then its only a couple of hundred metres to Todaiji itself. To enter the grounds of the temple and to go inside it costs 500 yen for adults and around 300 yen for children. It’s well worth it to see the huge Buddha inside.
Todai-ji is an absolutely huge temple and is extremely photogenic. Getting great snaps of it is really easy! Enjoy!