Day Eight--Nara

Nara Travel Blog

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Today started off being sunny and warm like the rest of the days have been, but who would’ve guessed it would end cold and rainy?! After today I really wanted to go back to Hakone and spend sometime in the hot springs! At least it didn’t start raining until after we’d finished our sightseeing for the day.

We went to Kyoto station and took the train out to Nara which was the capitol of Japan before Kyoto was, back in the eighth century.

It’s about an hour trip from Kyoto to Nara, but I’m pretty sure I fell asleep along the way! I wonder why it’s so easy to fall asleep on trains and yet so hard to do so on planes?

At Nara we quickly discovered that the park, which is renowned for its deer, is in fact ruled by the deer! They were everywhere! Demanding food and attention as an admittance price! I saw one chasing after a girl who had given it food, literally chasing her! Another deer ate part of Dr. Yang’s map! These deer were a lot different than the deer back home. They were smaller and tamer and cleverer and while back home we try to get rid of deer when there’s overpopulation, here they are considered sacred animals and are allowed to have the run of the roost!

We weren’t just at Nara to pay our dues to the deer, and the first place we visited was a temple which was famous for its pagoda, the second highest pagoda in all of Japan.

Another place we visited was one of the oldest Shinto Shrines in Japan and lastly, we paid a visit to Todai-ji temple, which is the largest wooden structure in the world! It is also home to the largest Buddha image in Japan, and the large Bronze statue is housed within the temple! It was really surprising to learn that the whole thing��"since it had been rebuilt due to an earthquake��"was only 2/3 the original size! It was almost impossible to imagine how the place could be bigger! I also enjoyed the looming statues behind the Buddha and found it interesting that they kept some of the broken pieces from previous statues around. There was a pile of heads in the corner! Outside there was another statue and apparently if you rub him wherever you have an ache or pain, the ache or pain will go away. So I rubbed his foot but it didn’t help any! My feet still hurt!

It started to rain as we were leaving Todai-ji, but we were given two hours to explore on our own, so after milling through a few shops Nadean, Amanda, and I went on the search for something to eat.

We were pretty much running from awning to awning to try to keep dry and it didn’t take us long to find a restaurant��"really a café��"to eat at! It was called Drink Drank and was super cute and retro styled! The waitress there noticed Nadean’s Nana umbrella (Nana is a really popular manga, anime, and live action series) and she told us that she really liked Nana too! I could see why! She dressed a lot like one of the main characters and even the café reminded me of the place where that character worked! I thought that was pretty cool, almost like we met the real Nana! Anyways, the food we ate there was super good, especially the soup! It was cream of corn soup I think and it was the first time we’d seen corn since being in Japan! It was really surprising!

We realized if we didn’t hurry we’d be late for meeting our group at the train station, so we didn’t get to go to the 100 yen shop like we’d plan to.

Instead we had to run through the rain and puddles to get to the station where we were about five minutes late, but still not the last ones to arrive. Everyone was cold and wet and inside the station it wasn’t any warmer, but at least we were fed! The train ride back to Kyoto seemed a lot longer than it had going to Nara. Maybe that was because it was getting dark out and it was still raining. Luckily back at the hotel, Nadean and I still had a pack of instant rice to make later so that we didn’t have to go out to find dinner. I also enjoyed the fact that the hotel had a communal kitchen that we could use anytime! Especially since tonight the kitchen wasn’t masquerading as a bar like it was yesterday!

I was sooo tired after today I took a nap until about eight thirty PM! I probably could have slept right through the night if I hadn’t wanted to make the rice before we left the hotel in the morning! So I made my rice and sat down at the little table to watch some Japanese Drama TV shows. Even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I enjoyed trying to figure out the plots! When I get home I might have to look up some of these shows and see if I can find them with subtitles!

It was a good night to be lazy though with the rain still falling outside. Tomorrow we leave Kyoto and make the long journey to Hiroshima.

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photo by: yasuyo