Wrapped sushi? A kiss from bambi? Udon madness? That’s what you can experience in Nara and Osaka! I had such an incredible day today, I don’t even know where to start! Read my impressions of Nara and Osaka in this Japan travel diary:
At the moment, we’re staying at a guest house in Kyoto for a few days as a home base. My friend and I fell in love with Kyoto at our first night wandering the streets of Gion, so we decided to spend more time in this city rather than visiting other towns near by and came to the conclusion to take only one day trip out of Kyoto to visit Nara and Osaka. Two cities in one day? No problem!
With our Japan Railway Pass in our pockets, we left our guest house early in the morning and grabbed a little snack on the way (edamame, o-nigiri rice balls and cold ouchi-cha tea for a 7/11 takeaway breakfast – can I please stay here?). After a short while we arrived in Nara, which was the national capital in the 8th Century. Pretty old, huh. And Nara is said to have a damn big, old temple as well!
So we walked down the main street from the railway station to reach this Todai-ji temple, passing by several shrines and – BAMBIS! Woah ❤ I could not believe my eyes how tame they were! You could buy special cookies and they would mildly attack you to get this little deer snack. But so cute! I even got a kiss on the cheek by one of my deer friends while I wasn’t paying attention while nibbling on an ice cream cone.
Anyways – we arrived at the temple and it was truly breathtaking. Believe me, I’ve seen one or the other temple on my many trips in Southeast Asia by now and this one, dating back from 728, was top league: Huge, wonderful buddha statue; old, and charmingly not perfectly restored paint on the wood elements and the comforting smell of incense sticks in the air.
After such a cultural activity, it was finally lunch time. So, we went for kakinoha zushi! These little sushi wraps are a particular tradition in this area and wrapped in salted persimmon leaves which achieve an antibacterial effect. As a dessert I treated myself with a cone of delicious sesame ice cream while my friend was having sakura flavour. Noms!
And then it was already time to go to Osaka.
I have to mention one thing: it is INSANELY hot in Japan at the moment. (Says the girl who lives in Singapore!). So when we arrived in Osaka, we dragged our bodies through the stinging afternoon heat to reach Nijo castle.
Situated in a picturesque park, this old castle from the Edo Period (1603-1867) was a must see visit for us. Unfortunately, apart from a nice view, the castle itself was not the best sight ever. Also the castle museum in there was pretty lame (holograms? CRT TV? Curation from the 80ies).
After some shopping, we decided to grab dinner and ended up in a wonderful udon noodle place near Osaka railway station. I’m a total sucker for Asian noodle soups and especially Japanese ones! Loved my cold pot of chewy, thick udon noodles in a salty broth accompanied with umeboshi plum, grated ginger, spring onions and fried tempura flakes. With happy bellies we set out on the journey back home.
A day well spent in Japan!