Translated by Lester Somera
9 Souvenirs From Nara That Are Ideal For Travelers On Long Journeys
Written by Sawada Tomomi
If you are visiting Nara and are looking souvenirs from your trip, use this article as a reference. From items with deer motifs to popular Nara sweets, these are our recommendations of souvenirs that will last until the end of your trip.
Nara has plenty of delicious food to offer its visitors, such as persimmon leaf sushi, Narazuke pickles, Daibutsu pudding, and kuzumochi. However, since all of these products contain fresh ingredients, you might worry about whether or not they will keep until the end of your journey. In this article, we’ll introduce nine long-lasting souvenir items that we suggest bringing back home from Nara.
1. Narazuke Pickle Cookies
Minced Narazuke pickles (*1) are blended into the batter before these cookies are baked. It sounds like a strange combination, but people who’ve tried them say they are delicious. During the baking process, the alcohol in the pickles evaporates and leaves behind only the savory flavor notes. so people who don’t drink much can eat them with peace of mind,
The Horotto cookies at Yamazakiya are a popular Narazuke cookie product, with a distinctively mellow ginger aroma. Yamazakiya has locations inside JR Nara Station, Kintetsu department stores and other shopping areas. A pack of ten Horotto cookies is 1080 yen.
*1 Narazuke pickles: These are made by salt-pickling cucumbers, ginger and other vegetables, then pickling them again in sake lees.
Yamazakiya Narazuke Honten
Address: Nara city, Higashimukiminami-machi 5
2. Deer Sable Cookies
Photo provided by: Yokota Fukeido
Yokota Fukeido’s Deer Sable cookies are crisp treats in the shape of Nara deer. Popular for their cute appearance, they are a staple souvenir for Nara visitors. A pack of 15 is 1080 yen.
The consistently popular Nara sightseeing spot, Heijo Castle, is right by Yokota Fukueido. When you visit Heijo Castle, how about dropping by and picking up some cookies?
Address: Nara, Nara, Nijo-cho 1-chome 3-17
Website: Yokota Fukueido
3. “Deer Poop” (Shika No Fun)
While you might frown at the name Deer Poop, these chocolate-covered peanuts are actually a common Nara souvenir. With their striking name and appearance, these pellets are popular with kids and schoolchildren on class trips. A pack is 350 yen.
You can buy Deer Poop at Shikaya, which is located on the shopping street two minutes from Todaiji’s southern gate.
Address: Nara, Nara, Kasugano-cho 23
Photo provided by: Imanishi Seibei Shoten Co. Ltd.
The famous Nara sake producer Harushika makes ararezake, a kind of drinkable mirin. It is different from the mirin used in Japanese cooking, and is meant to be drunk. Once beloved by the metropolitan upper class as sweet sake, it is now enjoyed as a Japanese liqueur. Ararezake has no aftertaste, and one sip of its elegant sweetness will get you hooked.
You can buy it at Harushika, located across from the millennium-old temple Jurin-in. Harushika offers more than just shopping; visitors can have tea and a meal, then take a tour of the sake production facility to see the brewing process firsthand.
Address: Nara, Nara, Fukuchiin-cho 24-1
5. Deer Fortunes (Shikamikuji)
You can buy a deer fortune for 500 yen at the popular tourist spot Kasuga Taisha. These fortunes are traditional craft pieces, carved in a single stroke.
Many people associate Todaiji’s Great Buddha and deer with the city of Nara. Deer have inhabited Nara Park for over a thousand years, and there are said to be over 1200 deer currently living in the area. Deer have been thought of as divine messengers since ancient times, making them the city’s symbolic animal. The facial expression drawn onto each deer fortune is different, so search for one that really stands out to you.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Address: Nara city, Kasugano-cho 160
Hours: Summer season （April-September）6:00-18:00, fall season （October-March) 6:30-17:00
Website: Kasuga Taisha
6. Makeup Brushes
Photo provided by: Akashiya
Nara ink andNara brushes are some of the area’s traditional crafts products. Many people come to buy good calligraphy pens and the like, but Akashiya has leveraged those techniques to put together very high-quality makeup brushes. Use a Nara brush to apply your makeup and you will definitely have a better beautification experience.
Akashiya is right by the discount store Don Quijote in Nara City. In the makeup corner, you can test out the makeup brushes for yourself. A brush can cost up to 800 yen.
Address: Nara city, Minamishinmachi 78-1
7. Nara Tea Towels
Photo provided by: Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten
Tea towels from Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten feature scenic Nara motifs like deer, Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha’s mantoro lanterns and the like. They are highly regarded for their absorbent and quick-drying capabilities, as they are made from the same fabric as mosquito netting.
Photo provided by: Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten
Items such as the deer towel (500 yen) evoke a Nara vibe. You can use the towels to clean off tableware and tables, as towels, or for wrapping bento boxes. That cuteness and versatile design makes them a popular souvenir gift for women.
Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten’s towels are available at its Sanjo location, Tokyo, Osaka, Haneda Airport and other locations nationwide.
Nipponichi Nara, Sanjo Branch
Address: Nara, Nara, Tsunofurishinya-cho 1-1
Website: Nipponichi Nara
8. Deer Goods
There are plenty of cute Nara items featuring the city’s symbolic deer available for sale, such as key holders, bookmarks, clips, card stands and more.
You can find deer goods at souvenir shops in Nara City and all around the prefecture. Kasuga Taisha also has exclusive goods that you must check out.
9. Buddha Stamps
While there are all sorts of goods with Buddha image themes, some particular standouts we recommend can be found at the Nara National Museum: Buddha image stamps. They feature motifs of the Todaiji Great Buddha, Siddharta and more, each with their own artistic touch. A stamp is 324 yen.
Nara National Museum
Address: Nara, Nara, Noborioji-cho 50 Banchi
Website: Nara National Museum
** Information is current as of January 2017. Pricing and operating hours at specific stores may be subject to change.