For the last part of oshogatsu (winter break), me and my friends decided to head on to nearby Nara. Nara is most popularly known in Japan for its free-roaming deer but the city also has a rich past. It is the first imperial capital of Japan and was established around 710. You can easily compare and contrast the shrines and structures here with those in other parts of Japan.
The city is small and easy to navigate for a day trip. From Kyoto, you can take the JR Nara line for 710 yen one way. The train ride is about 55 minutes long via the rapid train and about 1.2 hours via the local train. Getting around is best done on foot. For those who are in a rush, you can take the “Gurutto” bus (color red) which goes around the major tourist attractions for 100 yen per trip.
If you have ever dreamed about what it feels like to be in Memoirs of a Geisha and Rurouni Kenshin, then this is the shrine to go. It is considered as one of the big 3 shrines in Japan, alongside Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine and Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha.
Any trip to Japan would largely be trivial without visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine (and Kyoto!). There is just nothing in the world like it.
Here’s how hatsumode (first Shinto shrine visit of the year) is done in Kyoto!