I got bit in the butt by the deer of Nara.
They are considered sacred and have the run of the town. Vendors sell deer cookies so people can feed the deer.
Those people should be very, very careful, is all I'm saying. They will stop at nothing to get those cookies, including nipping yours truly in the ass.
Deer-filled Nara, which served as Japan's capital in the 700s, is walkable, charming, and serene. It has a turtle pond.
We toured Tōdai-ji Temple and saw its great Buddha.
For scale, you could fit your head inside one of its nostrils.
After getting molested by deer and seeing the temple, we walked up to the highest point we could find, looked out over the city, ate some rice balls and fish, admired the view some more, and then walked back down.
By the time we got to the bottom it was late afternoon and a gusty breeze had kicked up, blowing the cherry blossom petals to the ground in masses. Little girls squealed and chased them as they spun and settled into drifts. Adults tried to capture it all with their cameras.
The petal blizzards were pretty but also meant the blooms, already fading, would be gone very soon.
The deer just ate them.
Nara was the last real day of our vacation--the rest would be devoted to travel and logistics. I doubt we could have chosen a lovelier place in which to say good-bye to Japan and relax before the long trip home.