The town of Nara, 40km away from Kyoto, was Japan’s first permanent capital and is another Unesco World Heritage Site. The main sight is the great buddha (Daibutsu), 16m high and consisting of 437 tonnes of bronze and 130kg of gold. The Daibutsu-den (Great Buddha Hall) is a beautiful towering wooden building, one of the largest in the world. Beside the temple, Nara is best known for its 1200 or so deer. In pre-Buddhist times the deer were considered messengers of the gods and today enjoy the status of National Treasures. They also super pushy when it comes to food. We needed some time to learn to buy their ricecrackers, hide them in our pockets and only take them out piece by piece. Else the feeding experience was over in seconds.
After a great day in Nara we stopped at Fushimi Inari-Taisha, another must-see place in Kyoto, a vast shrine complex with endless arcades of vermilion torii (shrine gates) spread across a thickly wooded hill. Also one of the best opportunities to get away from the tourist masses by keep climbing up the hill.