24 October 2013

Osaka Travel Trip 2013 @ Part 3 (Nara Deer Park)

Hello again readers! This continuing post focuses on the amazing area of Nara in Kansai that houses lots of deers around the parks and towns and UNESCO world heritage sites. As I have mentioned earlier on the Kansai Thru Pass (KTP), I have use this pass for the first day from Osaka to Nara as it can be quite a journey. 

As some of you might get lost figuring out which trains to board even on the same platforms, a general guide I would give is avoid 2-2 seaters (facing front like airplanes) if you are using normal commuter tickets or KTP pass. Boarding this trains would incurred extra charges for seat fee when the train staff approaches you during your ride.

Nara Deer Park
 As you arrive Kintetsu-Nara station (if you are using KTP), do go up one floor to the tourist information centre for the Nara maps and they will guide you from there. The main places you should visit are Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and Kofukuji Temple. You can either to choose to walk or take the bus to this main places. (better take the bus for groups with elders)

Cute Deer!
 The deer park itself is very big as you can find deers almost anywhere you visit. Do not worry about them biting you as they are quite tamed unless you have bought the deer crackers (Y100) which they can be quite aggressive. Another thing, watch out for deer poop (they look like enlarged chocolate chips) as they are almost everywhere. If you do need Wi-Fi, do stop by at the earthquake museum at the shop rows nearby Kofukuji Temple.

Deer Alert!

Fortune papers tied in a Shinto Shrine

Nandaimon Gate
 I stopped by at Nara's landmark :Todaiji Temple which really amazes me. Among all the temples I visited, Todaiji Temple is the world largest wooden building. The place is really big and it certainly gives a strong cultural & historic vibe when I stepped my foot in the grounds.

Todaiji Temple
 The main Buddha hall, or Daibutsuden was freakingly huge as it gives a mild chill down my spine (maybe due to the weather too). You have to pay Y500 entrance free to get in where you get to see the Big Buddha statue. You can buy charms & souvenirs at the exit as they have plenty choices.

Koumokuten Demon
Pindola Bharadvaja (Binzuru)
The Pindola is a must-see statue here! Although it looks a bit scary, it was commonly believed in Japan that when a person rubs a part of the image of Binzuru and then rubs the corresponding part of his own body, his ailment there will disappear.

Flour Balls (Y100)
 I got this fried flour balls dipped in sweet sauce outside the entrance, it was quite sweet and chewy at the same time.

Kasuga Taisha Shrine Bronze Lanterns
Luck Charms!
 When visiting Japan, never forget to visit both of temples & shrines as shrines is based on the Shinto religion which originates in Japan. Kasuga Taisha is Nara's most celebrated shrine and famous for its countless numbers of lanterns donated by worshippers. Admission is free except for the inner buildings area for Y500. I personally felt visiting outside was more than enough for me. You can also buy some charms here. The popular ones is a wooden plate charm  that grants one wish to be true.

Stone Lanterns
 They have a short maze filled with many stone lanterns that was certainly an eyesight for us!

Stone Lanterns
Stone Lanterns
Deer spotted!
Kofukuji Temple

 I only managed to stop by Kofukuji on the way walking down to the town. Apparently, there was some renovation going on.

Green Tea Mochi Making
I highly recommend this shop as they put on a show on how matcha mochi was made and it was certainly not easy to make. The fast & violent pounding of the flour was exciting to see. This is a must visit shop in Nara! Do buy some of their mochi, you wont regret it as it was really delicious!

Green Tea Mochi 
Mochi Shop
Food Selections
 For lunch, I decided to find some good shops around Nara town before heading back to Osaka. I stumbled upon this shop as their exterior shows really drooling array of food delicacies. I have seen this shop at Osaka Shinsaibashi area as they specialize in deep fried delicacies and easily recognizable with their food display layout.

Oyster Set Meal (Y980)
I ordered their deep fried oyster set which was really fresh and juicy in the inside. Everything is Japan mostly seems to serve with shredded cabbage salad. The exciting part comes in the sauce making process, grind the sesame feeds finely with the given stick, then choose either red or black sauce and mix it uniformly. Voila! Dipped this sauce with your oyster and chew!