He who eats alone chokes alone. ~Proverb

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Japan trip - Nara

CAT: Nara was once the capital of ancient Japan, but now it's famous for the Todaiji, where the Great Buddha resides. It's a short hop from Kyoto, just 30 mins, and you can either go by JR Railways or Kintetsu Railways. The JR station is closer to the hotels, while the Kintetsu station is closer to the Todaiji, so I would recommend Kintetsu if you're just taking a day-trip from Kyoto. 

"Human! Got any food?"

Nara is also famous for its deer, who are totally unafraid of humans, and will even chase you if you have food on you!

We saw a fruit seller about to close her store for the day. Thinking that we might be able to score some bargains, we popped inside. She was selling beautiful Fuji apples, but we were puzzled - some were selling for 300 yen each, while others were selling for only 100 yen each. When questioned, she replied that the 100 yen ones were "damaged". Upon closer inspection, they had the tiniest of bruises. We promptly bought 2. 

100 yen each, normally 300 yen.

Beware of deer

While walking towards the Todaiji, Bear and I saw a Yaki-imo (sweet potato) seller. It smelled rather good so we bought one, not knowing that the price was 1000 yen!!! (I'd foolishly assumed that a sweet potato would only cost 200 yen or so). Evidently we had been caught in a tourist trap. It was amazing though, sweet, tasty, HUGE, definitely the best I'd ever eaten.

1000 yen yaki-imo

BEAR: The sweet potato ended up drawing a huge crowd of deers to us later on...


The Todaiji was until recently, the largest wooden building in the world, and it is an incredible sight. It's even more amazing when you discover that the original Todaiji burned down in an earthquake, and the current one is 30% smaller than the previous one!

Greedy pig deers.

The Sika deers roam freely in the compounds and damn they are greedy little things! The smell of the Fuji apples and sweet potato whipped them into a frenzy and I ended up being harassed. After refusing to feed a deer anymore, it headbutted me, wiped its wet, dirty nose on various spots of my coat, tried to eat my scarf and coat and chased me!!

Hero Cat ended up coming to my rescue by shoo-ing them away with his laptop bag.

For lunch, we stopped at Nakau, which is a chain of restaurants you'll see almost anywhere. The below picture was taken from the Google Streetview of Nara, as I didn't take any pictures of the outside. This one is located just in front of JR Nara Station. Bear loves the Beef Curry Udon here, a bargain at only 490 yen.

Beef Curry Udon - 490 yen (Bear's favorite!!)

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