One place I have been meaning to visit for a while now is Nara. As Saturday was a warm, sunny day we decided to finally make the trip and headed out by train to the West of Osaka, the journey took around forty-five minutes and passed in no time.
After a trek from the station up a hill that leads up through the town past various shops selling Nara souvenirs, we reached the main park area of Nara. We stopped at a small nearby soba restaurant that we had read about, we ate cold soba with tempura which was really tasty and some of the best I have tasted, the place is nice and quiet too. I say quiet, however there is one custom in Japan that I have still yet to become accustomed to, that of making as loud a slurping sound as possible when eating soba (supposedly a sign of appreciation). Anyone that knows me well knows of my lack of tolerance when it comes to loud eaters, so this is a particularly tough challenge for me but luckily this restaurant was the only place where it was that noticeable).
A great place for soba, if you don't mind the slurping!
After eating we headed up through the park, one thing that is immediately noticeable is the amount of deer, there are hundreds of them! They are all really friendly and quite happily stand around amongst the crowds of people, hoping for a rice cracker that you can buy from stalls dotted around the place.
Deer oh deer!
Our second stop was at the Daibutsuden temple, which is the biggest wooden structure in the world and houses a fifty-foot statue of Buddha. The sheer size of the building is breathtaking, as is the statue inside and a definite must-see when visiting Nara.
That's one big temple.
The entrance to the temple.
That's one big Buddha!
A scary looking customer!
After spending some time strolling though the park, dodging deer droppings, we eventually headed back into town and spent some time browsing the various small shops along small back streets. One place of particular interest was the Narakougei-kan Crafts Centre, a place selling many incredible wooden sculptures by local artists. Unfortunately they were all a little out of my price range otherwise I would have come back with armfuls of those wonderful things!
Some cute bunny wunnies.
A nice cuddly octopus.
Visiting Nara was an very enjoyable day out and I would like to go back again to see the things we missed, and to climb Mount Wakakusa to the west of the park, something I just didn't have the energy to tackle this time!
The four attack skills of an angry deer.
Not more deer!