Day 11: Nara

Attempted a sleep in today but only managed to get to 8.30am before the jackhammers and trucks were out down the road to wake us up. 

Breakfast consisted of a rice ball with a soft boiled egg in the middle (rice ball count: 14) and a ham and cheese sandwich.

We had to pack and check out by 11am and I have reached capacity with my luggage so I am going to buy another bag for carry on soon. We left our bags at the accomodation and caught the train to Osaka. At Osaka, we got on the train to Nara. 

Nara was Japan's first permanent capital back in the 7th Century. Prior to this, the passing of an emperor stipulated the capital to be moved as it was a Shinto taboo regarding death. Once at Nara there was a connecting bus to the Nara Deer Park and the Todai-ji shrine. 

Unfortunately all the signage and streets were in Japanese or, converted into Latin numerals but did not assist with our searching for ‘deer park’ or ‘shrine’. We turned a corner on the bus and saw heaps of deer and a lot of tourists so we disembarked hoping it was the correct stop. It was!

Deer walk along the pathways with everyone else and are most polite. If they want food, they will bow their heads before receiving any food (or paper map). These deer aren't as cheeky as on Miyajima Island. The deer are considered messengers of the gods and today are classified as National Treasures. 

We kept walking along the main pathway with led us to the famous Todai-ji temple housing Daibutsu (Great Buddha). The wooden house containing the Diabutsu is the largest wooden building in the world. It was built in 1709 and is only two thirds of its original size! 

The original Daibutsu was cast in 746AD, weighs 500 tonnes (437 tonnes of bronze) and was once covered in gold leaf. Daibutsu is an image of Dainchi Nyorai - the Buddha believed to give rise to all the worlds and their respective Buddhas. 

After visiting the Great Buddha, we went back out into the deer park and bought some deer-friendly crisps to feed the deer. I called them Bambi Cakes. 

Some of the deer were getting a bit cheeky here and there but overall, they were sweet and just wanted some attention. 

It was 2.30pm and we headed back to the bus stop to get our city loop bus to Nara Station (we got some pastries and sandwiches to go) then train to Osaka then second train to Osakatemmangu then walk to our accommodation to get our luggage! It was quite a journey. 

Once we collected our bags, we went back to our train station, lifting our bags down four flights of stairs to board the train to Osaka Station, then walk to the connecting train to Kyoto. 

The train took an hour to get to Kyoto and then we had to get a private subway train to Gojo Station and then walk 900 metres to our hotel. Prior to walking from Gojo Station, we decided to get McDonalds as we were hungry and wanted an early night for once. 

We got to our room, which the bedroom and bathroom are both ‘compact’ to say the least, had wonderfully hot showers and went to bed.