Our little family just got back from a trip to celebrate the Christmas season in Japan. We always stay in Nagoya with family, but this time we also took two mini road trips on our own as well.
Having an international license is really so helpful, but it is especially so if you have a baby and ALL the supplies that come with him 😅😜 We drove several hours from Nagoya to Nara, which is a very historically important place in Japan. There are temples and shrines everywhere, but we went with the main goal of seeing the infamous deer (which are also everywhere).
You can find many videos of them online, bowing to passersbys in exchange for deer biscuits which local vendors sell. I wanted to try it for myself, so off we went to the infamous Nara Park. Interestingly, the deer seem to be so much bigger when they’re standing next to you compared to when they’re on video. Their presence is quite large and I was actually intimidated by the more alpha deer. The larger male deer can be quite aggressive and will keep nudging you with their heads until you give them food. The females are much more docile. Local vendors told me to stand my ground because the bigger, more aggressive deer can differentiate between men and women, and will try to bully women. Who knew this to be true 😱
Hubbie was concerned about Mason as we saw some signs with warnings of deer aggression, so we made sure to be extra careful. Mason was very curious, though, and kept furrowing his brows trying to figure out what those lovely creatures were 🦌🦌🦌
While in Nara, we stayed at Nara Park Hotel which is a traditional Japanese-style inn (Ryokan 旅館) complete with Japanese yukata and washoku breakfast + dinner served to you in your room. The room was set in a traditional style with futon beds on tatami flooring. Mason had a blast exploring the place and got his knees all red from crawling around on the tatami.
There was also a small, attached, outdoor onsen at this ryokan. Kevin whisked Mason off to the men’s section while I relaxed in the women’s section. It was Mason’s first time experiencing onsen at 10 months old 😊 Kevin said he took it like a champ and made sure to prevent him from overheating.
I highly recommend coming to visit Nara if you’re looking for an authentic slice of Japanese history. The hotel also included a free 2-hour night-time tour, but we didn’t attend because it was a bit late for Mason to be up. It would have been nice to have a little bit more time to tour the city and get acquainted with the historic buildings, but we will leave that for next time as we made a promise to bring Mason back when he’s older.
Hope you got to enjoy Japan a little bit through this post, and as always, thanks for reading~