Osaka, Nara – 15th April

The day was sunny and clear when we woke up. We were so glad that we had made the decision to go to Nara today. We met Dallas and headed to Nippombashi Station. We found what we thought was the right station, but then discovered that we weren’t on the right station and there was another system on the next level down. We went down those stairs and found the right train. It was a 40 minute train ride to Nara. We had decided to walk from the station up to Nara Park and the Temple.

As we were walking (along with heaps of other people) we caught our first sight of the deer among the cherry blossoms. Although the cherry blossoms weren’t at their best, it was still stunning.

We were all really hungry, but hardly any restaurants open until 11:00 am and it was only 10:00 am. We finally found a place that was open. The coffee was great and they had some western food, so Phil and Dallas took advantage of that. It wasn’t cheap – but it was good.

We headed back up the road a little more and found our way to the Todaiji Temple. This park is so beautiful. We had a look at some gardens and then rounded the corner to see the gate ahead of us. We couldn’t believe it. It was so majestic and created out of wood. We enter through the gate and were astonished to see that there were more gates and buildings even bigger than the one we just went through.

There was a museum off to the right hand side as we entered through the gates. There were signs indicating that you would have a better understanding of the Great Buddha and its history, prior to seeing it. We decided to pay the extra 400 JPY (about $5 AUD) to view the Museum and got both the Museum and the entrance to Todaiji Temple for 1000 JPY each (about $12 AUD). (The entrance to only the Todaiji Temple is 600 JPY).

The Museum was really informative with subtitles in English for the initial video presentation and then information within the museum with English explanations. We were really pleased that we made the decision to go into this museum.

We headed back up the road towards the Temple. We went through the gates and were, once again, surprised at its size and grandeur. It was just huge. We lit some incense and headed inside. The Great Buddha is way bigger than we had imagined. It is just amazing to consider that this Buddha statue is so old, having been created in 752 AD. It is such a gigantic work of art. It was truly amazing.

We lit a candle and walked around the hall, taking everything in. I got my temple stamp (which I’ve been doing for every temple that I attend. You can get a book and have the stamp put into your book, however I plan to scrapbook my photos, so have been having them onto paper. Each stamp is 300 JPY and makes a great souvenir).

We headed back outside and took some more photos. We then had a look at the lucky charms and purchased some items. We found a beautiful spot outside and sat in the sun for a while soaking up the ambience (as Phil would say). There were some cherry blossom trees nearby, so we walked up there to have a look. WOW! This area was so pretty. The blossoms are over their peak, so anytime some wind blew, the petals would rain down on anyone nearby. It truly was so beautiful.

Deers roam freely all over the park as they are believed to be messengers from God. These messengers roam freely and don’t really interact with people unless you have deer crackers! These are small biscuits that you buy (about 10 discs for 150 JPY) to feed the deer. They are supposed to bow to you before you give them some, and some of them do this, but not all. Some of them are quite eager to get some more and will try to take them out of your bag. It was all part of the fun though. It appears as though part of the problem is that you get so many all at once and they can clearly see and smell them. We gave one of ours to another person nearby and they didn’t try to rush him as he only had a small amount.

We sat here under the cherry blossom trees for a while soaking in the beautiful weather, gorgeous location and crazy deers. We headed back to Osaka for our last night in this exciting city.

We got back to our hotel and went out for a last walk along Dotonbori Canal and street. We enjoyed some street food for dinner (well Bel had steamed pork buns actually) and just really soaked in the whole atmosphere here in Dotonbori. We got back to our room and got ready to leave. Tomorrow Bel and Phil are off to Kanazawa whilst Dallas flies back home to Sydney.

We will be sad to leave this city as we have really enjoyed our time here.


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