Today we went to Nara!
Our hotel provides a shuttle bus to and from Kyoto station every 15 minutes, which would have been nice to know earlier when we were arriving at the hotel with all our luggage, but better late than never I guess. We caught the shuttle bus to Kyoto station, grabbed some breakfast, then got a train to Nara.
The trip took about half an hour from Kyoto station and cost 500 Yen for a normal train ticket and an additional 600 Yen to get on the special train to Nara.

While we were waiting for the train, we went to a vending machine to get a drink and we got a hot caramel milkshake! It was awesome! It tasted just like a paddle pop in a hot liquid form.

hot caramel milkshake in a can
The train ride was pretty nice, it went through more rural areas of Japan and there were vast fields, which seems quite uncommon when you spend time in built up places like Osaka and Tokyo.
On the way there we went past a temple. There was a random stranger sitting next to me and he saw me taking photos, so he gave me a heads up that there was an old temple coming up so I could get ready to take a shot and explained some of its history.

Old temple on the way to Nara

We arrived at Nara and there were a lot of people there! The main attractions for tourists at Nara are the bowing deer, the big bronze Buddha, a collection of temples, shrines and museums and a market.

When we got to the park we were greeted by a museum that showcased a collection of statues from ancient times and the "Family temples of the Fujiwara Clan", which included a 5 story pagoda that is the second tallest pagoda in Japan.

Family temples of the Fujiwara Clan
The 5 story pagoda
After we went through the museum we continued on to the park area. This park is famous for the bowing deer. There a bunch of stands selling deer food and if you present the food to the deer, they will bow for you to ask for it. The deer here are wild, but they must be very used to people because even though there are signs warning people about being attacked by deer, they are very tame. They just wander around the park following people and looking for food or sleeping - even tame enough to give them a pat.

A deer bowing for Sarah's food
Deer resting around the park
Walking around the deep obstacles in the path
We spent some time feeding the deer and going through a couple more museums, where we saw some ancient scrolls and more statues and fragments from as far back as the 13th century. They were quite interesting, but my memory isn't good enough to recite the facts - Rob probably remembers more than me, he was quite intrigued.
After that we reached the main attraction - The Todaiji Temple, home of the giant bronze Buddha. Todaiji Temple's main hall is the worlds largest wooden building and houses one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha. The Buddha is 15 meters tall and the photos really do not do it justice, its pretty impressive close up.

Todaiji Temple's main hall
The giant bronze Buddha
The temple grounds
On the way back we walked through the market, which was a couple of streets of hawker stalls mostly selling food. Everything there costs roughly 500 Yen each, including the museums, entrance into the temples and even most of the food items. There was a decent variety of food there, including Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Yakitori, roasted corn, hot dogs, pancakes and lots more, but for 500 Yen, the servings were a bit small.

After a whole day of looking at temples, museums and deer, we headed home. Today was Rob and Sarah's 4th anniversary, so they went out together, my parents went their way and Jono, Rob and I got dinner at a more traditional Japanese Ramen restaurant. The food was pretty good, but my meal had two courses, which was way too big, so I did my best and left the rest.
From there we managed to catch the last shuttle bus back to the hotel and call it a night

Comments (1)

On 4 January 2013 at 13:28 , alex.m.anders said...

bowing deer. brilliant!