If you are the vicinity of either Osaka or Kyoto, you need to visit Nara for the day. The walk from the train station to the park takes you up the main street, lined on either side with retail tat. Initially, I was put off by the amount of tourist shops – although so, so tempted by a Karate Kid style head band – but once you start your journey through the park you will definitely be enchanted. And the deer. Oh my gosh, the deer. Literally half my photos are of disinterested grazing Bambi (or the angry Monkeys in Kyoto but we’ll get to that another day).
Seriously though, where’s that love heart eyes emoji where you need it?! In fact that doesn’t even cover this cuteness. They’re very cunning though, one sneakily nuzzled into my pocket to promptly steal and snack on a delicious map I had left in there. Lucky for me I knew the way back to the train station.
Another draw of Nara Park is the Tōdai-ji temple, home to Daibutsu, Tōdai-ji’s 15m-high bronze Buddha. Impressive, decadent gold contrasting with the wooden walls of the temple. One of my favourite we saw in Japan. Keep you’re eyes low as you enter to appreciate Daibutsu, looming over his visitors . Photos were quite dark from the inside so here’s a snap from outside Tōdai-ji. Nowhere we went in Japan was quiet, not that it ruined it for me. I was quite fascinated by the uniformity of the groups of school children snapping photos in their sailor-esq attire. So Japan.
My only criticism of Nara would be the food I ate there. More to do with my ignorance of local cuisine than any real short-coming of the town though. There have only been 3 times in my life I have been unable to finish a meal. The first when I was a child round at my friends house for dinner and I was unwittingly served Venison soup (I think we have gathered now I am a fan of Bambi). Being a polite child I persevered for as long as I possibly could without them thinking I hadn’t given it a real shot. Ugh, talk about the meat sweats. To this day that is the only time I have tried Venison. The second was in Thailand where my friend, tired of stir fry noodles, Pad Thai and curries suggested we try a Mexican restaurant in Bangkok. A mistake, a very hot mistake. I had a burrito which literally left me nauseous with pain. I exited that meal swiftly and headed to the streets for an ice cream. The third time was in Nara. I am tourist not put off menus by language limitations. I love to sample local cuisine – I actually left Thailand with food poising that left me projectile vomiting for 17 hours straight on a flight from Phuket to Glasgow. I think it was the pork. So as we enter this restaurant I see people eating noodles. I like noodles. I like noodles a lot. Turns out I like Soba Noodle Salad not so much. It was fridge cold, congealed in an emulsified sauce that left a very bitter taste. Apparently very popular for lunch in Japan. I’ve since googled recipes and this looked similar, but honestly not sure any of the ones I’d seen would do it justice. So a lovely day in Nara finished in me being a little hangry on the journey back to Osaka, but then I thought about all the wee bambi and it and I decided to forgive Nara for my foodie faux pas.