Basing myself in Kyoto opened up many opportunities to explore the surrounding cities, and after a short train ride, I arrived in the historic town of Nara. My first stop in this UNESCO World Heritage Site was Kōfuku-ji.
Kōfuku-ji is the national headquarters of the Hossō school of Buddhism in which they teach the understanding of reality through the mind instead of through experience. Although it has become a relatively small sect of Buddhism, Hossō was very influential during its establishment within Japan and has survived long after its Chinese and Korean counterparts died out.
When I arrived at the Buddhist temple, a herd of deer lazing away in the sun greeted me. Some lounged in the shade of trees with their eyes half-closed. Others approached visitors in search of a treat. These deer, although wild, were definitely domesticated enough to realize the potential bounty that could be found in many pockets. They were even tame enough to pet. Their fur was short but soft and their antlers had a thin layering of fuzz that made them soft as well. For a moment in time, I felt like I was in the middle of a Disney movie.