A Day in the Life: Nara Park, Japan!

 Hello from Japan!

I was extremely excited to visit Japan, as it is a culture that is different from anything I had experienced before. As I exited the plane, I realized that I could not read any of the signs, and I began to feel lost and nervous. With my professor helping to translate and my new friends at my side, I overcame my nerves and started to enjoy Japan! I have loved learning about Japanese cultural and religious norms on this trip. I will share what I have learned so far. 

I am going to take you through a day in my life in Japan. On Tuesday, May 28th, we visited Nara Park.

The day began with a train ride from Kyoto to Nara. I love Japanese trains, they are efficient and safe. On Japanese trains, people are very quiet – something we were not used to as New Yorkers!

The first activity of the day was visiting Todaji, the main temple at Nara Park. Todaji is a Buddhist temple complex dating back to the year 752! It is known for its Great Buddha Hall where a 70-meter-tall statue of Buddha takes center stage. I have learned that Japanese people think of religion in a very different way than we do in the West. They do not follow specific doctrines, everything is personal, and foreigners are allowed to participate! The temple was not just filled with foreign tourists, but Japanese school-children as well. 

On the way to our next site, we ran into some of Nara Park’s sacred deer! This was the coolest experience I have had in Japan because the deer have completely integrated themselves with tourists. They walk around with all the people, bow to them, and chase them if they think they have food! 

For example! Isn’t this cool?

The next site we went to was a Shinto Shrine called Kasuga Taisha. It was more quaint than Todaji, located in the forest and on top of a hill. I find it very interesting that Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines can be located on the same grounds. This is another testimony to the fluidity of Japanese religions. 

We had the opportunity of seeing a monk setting up an offering. 

Unfortunately, our trip to Nara Park had to end there due to typhoon season! We got caught in the rain and had to rush back. We piled on a bus and headed for Kyoto.


Back on dry land, I headed out for a delicious dinner in the Nishiki Market with some friends! I got the salted Udon noodles. On this trip, I have made sure to try out local food items, such as sushi and mochi. I have also learned to speak a few words in Japanese! 

That wraps up this unforgettable day in my life! I would not have had this amazing experience without the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Mark. I am so glad to learn about Japanese culture and religion firsthand. I feel that I am learning much more by being in Japan than I ever would have learned in a classroom. 

Thank you for reading my blog post! 🙂

– Maria Perrino

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