Nara is about an hour from Kyoto, and you can take the JR Nara line. This was more like a half day trip since we had to be back in Kyoto, to catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo, so that we could catch a flight at night to Shanghai. We did this because our time in Japan was limited, but I would not recommend this. You need at least one full day in Nara.
Our first stop was Kofukuji temple, which was on the way to Nara Park. It’s about an 8-minute walk from Nara Station.
From there, we went to Nara Park, a 5-minute walk from the temple. This is the famous deer park where you bow to the deer, they bow back, and you give them a treat. These ‘treats’ are special crackers that you can buy at the entrances of the park for ¥150 per pack. The deer are used to people, so they aren’t aggressive (but probably can be if you provoke them, just like any other wild animal). The most aggression we experienced was them nudging our jacket pockets, trying to get more crackers. So if you’re keeping some in there, make sure your pockets are secured!
There’s also the mochi-pounding at Nakatanidou, but we were in such a rush that we forgot to make a stop here. I guess that calls for a return trip!