Ukimido is a hexagonal gazebo over the Sagiike Pond in Nara Park. The park is generally crowded with tourists all through the day, but they usually stay away from this area. The airy structure in the middle of the pond, surrounded by herds of deer, is one place where I can find peace at any time of the day.
I have been to Ukimido in Nara several times before but never during the evenings. A few days before I came across a flier at the Nara Tourist Information Center that had a cover photo of the pavilion at night. It looked so immersive that I couldn’t miss photographing this lovely gazebo.
So, at around 5 pm I walked down to the park. I had with me some acorns that I had gathered at Nagoya Castle grounds. The deer love munching on these acorns.
On my way, I went past the meadows beside Todai-ji temple where the deer were busy munching on the green grass. I was a bit surprised to see so many gathered at a single place. A couple came running towards me hoping to get some tidbits. I fed them the acorns I had stuffed in my cargo pockets. The sun was on its way down, so I hurried towards the floating pavilion.
Ukimido, Nara Park
It was almost sun down by the time I reached the pavilion. Some elderly ladies were sitting inside the dimly lit structure. The sunset was playing its magic creating a blend of purple and orange sky.
I stayed around till the ladies moved away after having their fill of the enchanting surroundings. During the summer evenings the floating pavilion is illuminated and it feels very relaxing sitting in the center of the pond amid dimly lit lanterns. I took a few shots of Ukimido Pavilion until the sun had fully set.
Once I was done taking pictures, I went back the along same path towards home. With the fall due in a month, some of the trees had started to turn red already. The lanterns along the Sagiike pond lit up the trees casting a reddish glow over them.
Nara Park is lovely in the day, but its mesmerizing at night. If you are in Nara, try to visit the place at night. Kofukuji and Todai-ji grounds remain open all night. The five-story pagoda at Kofukuji looks like a painting with the moon rising behind. The Todai-ji temple closes at around 5-5:30 pm depending on the season but you can still enjoy the beautifully lit park surrounding the temple. On certain days Todai-ji does remain open during nights. I was lucky to visit Todai-ji on New Years Eve, one of the rare times when the temple is opened to the public at night.
Thanks for reading! In a couple of days, I go back to India but in these few months, I have been so captivated by the rich culture and traditions of Nara, that I am certain that I will be back soon to complete my understanding of this western island of Japan. I would love to know about your experiences. Please post your thoughts using the form below or connect with me on Instagram.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based on the time I visited the premises. Note that there might be changes in the prices of merchandise and admission fees that might have occurred after this article was published. At times the facility might also be closed for repairs or for variety of other reasons. Kindly contact the facility or facilities mentioned in this article directly before visiting.
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Credits: The historical information presented herein is gathered mostly from Wikipedia and local guides.