Whenever I had mentioned that I was planning to visit Japan, I was told to visit Nara. And so I went.

Nara is a city of 400,000, one hour east of Osaka by train (US$4.67 each way). The collection of historic monuments and temples of Nara are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I spent approximately three hours touring the park and several temple sites. The admission fees are not much, totaling less than US$11 for my tour.

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Upon walking into Nara Park, one immediately notices the suki deer. They are wild animals but are so accustomed to humans that they casually walk around, allowing you to pet them. There are street vendors selling deer crackers for 150 yen. There are 1200 deer in the park.

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Five-story pagoda of Kōfuku-ji

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At all temples, one can pay 300 to 1000 yen for various offerings and wishes on wood or candles. Other people write beautiful Japanese and Chinese characters, often vertically. I can only write ugly English. I paid 500 yen for this wish. What a bargain for all this.

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I have taken to wearing a mask on some days to protect from ultraviolet rays. And deer hair.

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Tōdai-ji is reportedly the largest wooden building in the world. It is the most popular temple in Nara. There is a 50-foot Buddha inside.

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While in Japan, I ate several green tea Häagen-Dazs bars (US$2.45).