Nara left us both with mixed feelings. While we loved Todai-ji, the deer, the house we were staying at and the weather, we found the atmosphere a bit … particular and not as enjoyable as other cities in Japan. I have visited quite a few, from Hiroshima to Fukuoka and Kamakura, and they were all so different yet lively. Which is precisely what I felt like Nara was missing: life. It sure was pretty, and I liked it, but I missed the spirit, the life, the characteristic vibe that each city has and makes it so unique. You know how there are cities that you can never really picture in your head, which map you can not draw mentally? That’s also what happend with Nara. It was also really difficult to find places to eat, as a vegan, which wasn’t the case in Tokyo or Kyoto, and therefore, made our stay a bit of a struggle at times. But hey, it was Japan, and it was amazing nonetheless!
I guess Nara is a lovely city to visit for a couple of days, especially if you like quietness and are looking for a lot of historical legacy. I have nothing against those two things, but I tend to look for more popular and animated areas. In a way one could almost say that Nara was a bit too fancy for my own liking, but that should definitely not prevent you from visiting!
The sight of the Todai-ji is truly one to experience, I wasn’t expecting to feel deeply moved but when facing this huge wooden contrusction, I had a glimpse of harmony. The temple is perfect, and I felt as moved as when seeing the Coliseum in Rome. Stendhal was in awe in Florence, dazzled by the art, the beauty of the italian city, and while I never experience the Stendhal syndrom, I certainly did feel a strange and overwhelming feeling in front of a few monuments, Todai-ji was one of them.
(a video will be on my channel, if you’re interested in discovering more of Nara!)