Sunday, 13 December 2015


Gate to Todaiji in Nara

Today was Nara day trip day. We caught a limited express train on the JR Nara Line to the end of the line. It took about 45 minutes to get to Nara. The unanticipated Nara marathon meant that the travel plans at Nara were rearranged with limited bus routes and at 30 minute intervals rather than the usual 10.
Train trip to Nara!

Today it is green tea shortbread

Nara marathon. The cheer squads were so exuberant and cheerful that I almost wanted to run...

We headed to Nara-machi, an old precinct full of traditional houses, shops and tearooms. We popped into our second information centre of the day which was a very wise move. We were trying to locate Tofuan Kondau, a famous tofu restaurant serving 13 courses of tofu "that will change your mind on tofu forever". Alas, much to Malcolm's disappointment, information centre staff advised us that the restaurant had stopped serving lunch. We weren't sure about staying until dinnertime so the tofu extravaganza will be left to the imagination.

Our three circles on our map soon turned into about a dozen as the excited and super friendly information centre staff added more and more essential stops to Nara-machi alone! We ended visiting 2 beautiful traditional lifestyle houses (free admission), the Koshindo Shrine (think see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil), Goryo Jinja Shrine and ended at...dessert. It was in a traditional Japanese sweet store which had some of the finest desserts and toilet facilities to date.

Traditional Japanese house

Front room looking out onto the street

This one was a large one!


Gifts for the children on exit

Koshindo Shrine

Japanese sweet shop

Traditional Japanese dessert house

The closed tofu restaurant...

Each town/city seem to have a unique drain cover

We followed a recommendation to a lunch venue called Shikanofune. It was an unusual combination of pickles/vegetables and rice that worked really well. It was then back on the bus to picturesque Nara Park, teeming with deer. At the end of the park is the World Heritage listed Todaiji Temple, known to have the world's largest wooden building which houses a giant buddha. We fed the deer along the way (150 yen for deer food). Further along a the way, a sweet old man gave some to the children for free and then gave them wet wipes to clean their hands afterwards! The children were fascinated to observe that Japanese deers knew how to bow...

Ordering from a vending machine makes everything extra fun

Neat way to contain belongings and keep them clean!

Vegetarian for lunch

Feeding the deer with feed from the kindly gentlemen

Jonah kept hoping to see a deer obey the signs - especially a knock down.

big buddha inside

We caught a train back to Kyoto Station and had dinner at a "Japitalian" joint. Apparently Italian cuisine is popular here and is quite good, the word of advice is not to know it until we try it. And so it was that we found ourselves eating a most scrumptious spaghetti soup with hiroshima style oysters.
Update re: baked kit kat. We can't bake in our kitchen! So this will to wait until we get to our next "kitchen".

Spaghetti soup!

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