Soul of the Garden

Images of Japan: Nara-Koen  (Nara Park)

Nara has the reputation of being the greenest city in Japan and Nara Koen is the reason why. This enormous park covers a wide swath of the eastern half of Nara and many of the city's most famous sights lie within  its boundaries including the Todai-ji temple complex and Kasuga Taisha. Nara Koen is perhaps most famous for its herd of "sacred" deer. These rather tame creatures get a little pushy if they know you have some of the "deer crackers" sold by vendors. We witnessed a couple of deer cracker muggings... let's just say that you'd be wise to count your fingers after feeding them.


Bambi want a cracker?


Most of the pathways leading through the koen are lined with lanterns. They are only lit during festivals associated with  Kasuga Taisha.


It all starts so innocently...


He was never seen again.


Magnolia in bloom.


Relieved to have survived the "cracker incident."


Moss covered lantern.


Jizo statue with bib.


Near the entry of Kasuga Taisha.


The lanterns are sealed with paper panes during the festivals.

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