Japan Travels – Nara’s beauty in Fall

Nara is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. I can’t believe I was totally disinterested in exploring Nara in the past. But perhaps, this time autumn really lent a great helping hand in its beauty. The fiery red and yellow leaves, interspersed with lush green, looked like intricate brocade from afar. Below is my very first jaw-dropping view of Nara. Isuien Garden (依水園) in its autumn grandeur.

Isuien Garden pond surrounded by red and yellow autumn foliage.
A moss-covered stone lamp in front of a pond in Isuien Garden surrounded by autumn foliage.

I dropped by Isuien Garden for lunch, and had an interesting traditional meal of mugi toro (plain rice with thickened grated yam mixed with soy sauce, seaweed and barley). I must say though, the view was worth more than the meal.

Ground yam topped with dried green seaweed.
This is the ground yam.
Side dishes arranged delicately on a scalloped orange plate.
Pretty assortment of side dishes.
Mugi toro spread. Ground yam, side dishes and rice.
So you pour the yam over the rice and you will get a sticky consistency almost like porridge but not quite. Doesn’t look very filling but I guess because it is a mixture of yam and rice I was actually full after my meal.
Thatched hut at the edge of a pond peeking from an early autumn foliage of green, red and orange.
A landscape view of Isuien Garden adorned with splashes of red and yellow leaves in autumn.
This kind of scenery is something I always attempted to paint but failed because of my shoddy skills.
Me posing near a straw hut surrounded by red autumn leaves.
A tiny moss-covered stone pot filled with crystal clear water. Several maple leaves float on the water in the pot.
This picture just makes me feel so poetic indeed. The green of the water is a reflection of the still green trees above, which brings out the ruby red of the fallen leaves.

After leaving Isuien Garden reluctantly, I moved on to Tōdaiji Temple (東大寺), which was sadly under construction. So I ended up exploring the park filled with deers. Curious, greedy deers who are not at all shy of strangers. They have even learned to bow for treats, and push their wet noses towards anything one holds, believing it to be food. The smell was rather off-putting, given that so many deer are gathered in an area, but they were so adorable I let it slide.

A lone deer facing the camera.
Cute deer! Reminds me of Bambi =)
A close-up of a deer standing on fallen autumn leaves.
Deers drinking from a rocky stream surrounded by autumn foliage.
Deers drinking at a river flanked by fall foliage is a sight to behold indeed.
Several deers resting on autumn leave-covered ground.
Deers resting on blanket of gold.
Curious deer sniffing at my camera.

And I finally ended my Nara trip with a really delicious crepe! Nope, the smell didn’t affect my appetite. I always do love a good dessert after a long walk. I ordered baked apples wrapped in a soft warm crepe covered with cinnamon sauce (if I don’t remember wrongly), at this random teahouse along the streets of Nara, so I didn’t think I would chance upon anything this fantastic. I remembered thinking all the other flavours were a little too outlandish for me to try, so I stuck with a relatively safe choice.

Baked apple crepe drizzled with cinnamon sauce served on a white plate, with a cup of tea on the side.

I was sad to leave Nara at the end of the day, because it was just so picturesque. I’m sure, of course, Kyoto would be equally magnificent without all that crowd, as I have been to Kyoto before, but unfortunately, the crowd spoilt it for me. Also, the deers reminded me of my times back in university exchange, when I was at Miyajima, a beautiful island off Hiroshima. I was glad to be able to see Japan during autumn, for the fall foliage is simply breathtaking, especially with the ancient temples and shrines amongst them. Too bad I was one day too early for snow. But filming calls. Never mind. I will definitely see snow someday. And cherry blossoms. ❤

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Beauty- and Travel-holic who loves to play and dream, and recording her life moments.

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