Japan 2008 – Day 5 – Nara & Osaka

Nihon - Day 5 - Nara & Osaka

Today we went to Nara, a town and hour or so South of Kyoto known for it’s massive park, deer and impressive temples.

Our flash sets of wheels
Upon arrival at Nara station we decided hiring bikes would be fun! Turned out it was only 500yen each for an entire day too! You could also hire electric assisted bikes for 1500yen for 4 hours but that just seemed lazy 🙂

With our flash sets of wheels we headed down Sanjo-Dori(a busy shopping steet) towards Nara Koen.

Deer cookies
Deer everywhere! they’re so tame and cheeky too. We bought some ‘deer cookies’ for 150yen which they go totally mad for. They nip you slightly at your sides sometimes – looking for your pockets the clever things!

Feeding the Deer- they aren't as obedient as Pickles
Feeding the Deer- they aren’t as obedient as Pickles

They luuuurve the Deer cookies!
They luuuurve the Deer cookies!

How'd he get over there?!
How’d he get over there?!

Next on our list was Todai-Ji Temple to the North of the park so after a stroll around we hopped back on the bikes and headed up there.

On the way we came across a small section of park by itself with nobody in but lots of deer, so this was a great opportunity for some pictures!

Nice quiet park area, lots of Deer
Nice quiet park area, lots of Deer

Being off the beaten trail, these guys obviously don't get fed as much...
Being off the beaten trail, these guys obviously don’t get fed as much…

...and went pretty nuts!
…and went pretty nuts!

Todai-Ji temple was amazing – beyond massive and the giant Buddha inside was bigger than anything i’d imagined! Was thinking the size of a car maybe not a house!

Todai-Ji temple
Todai-Ji temple

Todai-Ji temple's massive Buddha
Todai-Ji temple’s massive Buddha

We lit some candles and made a little prayer
We lit some candles and made a little prayer, no telling what it was though 🙂

Could you fit through?
This column has a hole in the bottom of it the exact size of Buddhas nostril and if you’re able to fit through you’re guaranteed enlightenment. We saw a guy in his 30’s squeezing through, it took him forever and everyone clapped, sadly I wan’t quick enough with camera to catch his proud moment.

Done with Todai-Ji we headed back to the bikes…

But picked up a tail along the way...
But picked up a tail along the way…

This deer was the cheekiest of all, he stopped at nothing to get deer cookie!
This deer was the cheekiest of all, he stopped at nothing to get deer cookie!

Heading back to the station
Finally escaping(without any deer cookie) we rode back down through the park, onto Sanjo Dori again toward the staion, stopping to buy a deer plushie on the way.

It was around 3pm now so we decided to head over to Osaka again as opposed to going back to Kyoto where we’d seen just about eveything we wanted to.

After a slightly longer journey than necessary(didn’t check my connections) we arrived in Osaka and took a subway down to Namba so we could visit Dotonbori district – famous for it’s massive neon signs and giant crab animatronics!

The amazing Dotonbori
Crab robot!

So many signs
So many signs

It's a neon wonderland!
It’s a neon wonderland!

An ad for Usuaji snacks
An ad for Usuaji snacks, note Osaka castle on the left 🙂

Angry Chef man!
Angry Chef man!

Donki Kingdom
Happened upon a Donki Kingdom! Best random shop ever and spent ages in here buying things including… F CUP COOKIE! The big yellow frame surrounding the building is actually a ride but is wasn’t working today.

Afterwards we stopped for a beer at a little place by the waterside, enjoying the crazy bright view around us. Kyoto is nothing like this, in fact the local government have passed laws which prevent large neon signs or billboards being placed to preserve the citys traditional feel.

Our beer stop
Beer stop

Emma enjoying said beer
Emma enjoying said beer

We looked around a bit more, walking through the Dotobori shopping arcades and stopped for a Japanese take on Italian food – pretty yummy!

Dotonbori River by night
Dotonbori River by night, had a play with the manual settings and came out pretty good!

The iconic Glico running man
The iconic Glico running man

Now refuelled we walked around a bit more, bought a few bits in a 105yen shop and decided to head back to the station as getting home to Kyoto would probably take a good hour.

Walking down Dotonbori I noticed a lady on the door of a building with a fluffy little dog in her coat, we went over to have a look and it said “dog gallery” so we decided to go in expecting a gallery of cute pictures of dogs, what we got was DOG CAFE!!!

DOG CAFE!!! KAWAII!!

Basically you go in, order food and play with doggies & buy treats for them! Must be great for people with homes too small to accomadate pets and it was great for us a we’re missing Pickles a bit.

Me and some new friends
Me and some new friends

Emma and her buddy
Emma and her buddy

Video of the extreme cuteness below:

We stayed for a good hour and the finally headed back to Osaka station, and onward to Kyoto.Neko Otoko
This cat sleeps in a shop right by our Hotel, always sleeping on the products. I’ve never seen the owner and cat at the same time so I think he transforms into a cat by night, Neko Otoko!

Our Hotel, can't recommend it enough, the people are so nice
Our Hotel, can’t recommend it enough, the people are so nice

Packing now to leave Kyoto tomorrow, it’ a little sad as it’s reall won me over, but Tokyo awaits!

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