Rashida Jones on a Magical, Deer-Filled Day Trip From Kyoto

Rashida Jones stars in “Sunny,” streaming on Apple TV+, beginning July 10.

“When I was in Kyoto filming my new show Sunny in 2022, I started a list of things that I wanted to remember once I didn’t live there anymore. So much of what I experienced had a deep impact on me because it felt vastly different from my regular life. Like, one day, I decided to get my husband and son out of the city and visit Nara, which is about 40 minutes south and home to a Shinto house called Kasuga Taisha and a temple, Tōdai-ji. We had to drive along this long road to get into town, stopping at a retro vending machine carousel to buy my son a toy along the way. Eventually we turned a corner and saw deer all over the hillside. The deer in Nara are part of the place. You walk down the street and there will just be two of them taking a nap in front of a store. You can buy food and feed them. Some even got a little nippy with us! It was a very weird, magical scene. And it was such a hot day that the air felt like soup, but we soon reached Tōdai-ji and it was cool inside the temple, where there was this big Buddha surrounded by lots of gorgeous lotus flowers. In the middle was a little altar where you could light a stick of incense and say a prayer. We had a quiet moment of reflection together, as a family, below these massive idols, and it all suddenly felt so humbling. One of the most memorable things about living in Japan for me was the depth of spirituality, not just at the temples and shrines but even in the artistic spaces. There’s a respect for culture and the past that I long for. We just don’t have that in Los Angeles—no disrespect to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. But just standing there, in this temple in Nara, I found myself slowing down. It was a place where I could be totally present.”

This article appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here

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