Published: June 13th 2010April 30th 2010
We arrived in Nara late in the afternoon and immediately checked into our hostel (which is the best hotel I have ever seen!! It was more like 4 star hotel!). After sitting around relaxing (I was very tired again thanks to the medicine so it was at this point I decided to cut my medicine from 3 a day to 2...) we eventually went out in search of dinner. As we were just about to stop in at a restaurant my (3rd) friend called me to say she had arrived in Nara so I left my 2 other friends to go pick up the 3rd friend. Once I met her, we went out for a simple beef bowl dinner and then went back to the hostel to relax. Pretty uneventful first night in Nara, but we did manage to find a very nice souvenir shop
We got up at a decent time (9am) and left for Heijo Palace. There were a lot of people there but because the palace is so huge, it really didn't feel crowded. After a quick bite to eat, we explored what appeared to be a mini market; selling food, souvenirs, and had a
This kid caught 15 fish.. and then put them all back instead of keeping them.
game stand or two. There was a woman selling socks who started to chat with one of my friends (in Japanese) so I went to join her. The woman was so happy to have talked with us that she gave us each a free pair of socks! Haha. This area was quite amusing because a lot of people at the booths were trying their best to speak English and call us over. At the end of the area, there was the fish scoop game!! (For those of you that don't know, you use a rice paper fan/scoop and you try to catch goldfish). I had always seen these games in anime but never in person so I couldn't give up the chance to try it! I caught one fish but the paper broke on the 2nd attempt. We spent a few minutes watching a kid play the game, and were quite impressed that he caught 15 fish before his paper broke!
Once we started to explore the actual palace grounds, the group split into 2. My group was the "see everything but do it quickly" while the other group was the "let's take our time and see everything."
I think that was his name... either was he's Nara's mascot; a buddha-deer
celebrate the palace's 1300th anniversary, people could dress up in costumes for free. Unfortunately there was a long line up and I didn't plan on being there long enough to make the costume worth it.
By 1:30, my friend and I had left the palace and were making our way to Nara Park. I had been wanting to come here for sooooooo long! For those of you that don't know, Nara Park is famous for having tame deer roam the grounds. I was so excited when I saw them! So we bought a pack or two of deer crackers, but they were wasted because none of the deer really wanted to eat it (I don't blame them.. people must have been feeding them all day). Within the park was the Todaiji (the ji in Todaiji means temple), which has the largest indoor Buddha, and the building itself is the largest wooden building in the world (or so I was told). AND, the current building is actually only 2/3 the size of the original structure! It was pretty interesting.
As it became evening, we got pretty tired and decided to head back to the hostel to rest up a
bit before going out to dinner. (My other two friends were still off somewhere.) We found a nice restaurant close to our hostel. It looked very high class, but the prices were that of a family restaurant (which made the restaurant even better!) I ordered a pumpkin/squash soup and a salmon and cheese dish (I think... I don't remember any more). Unfortunately... I STILL COULDN'T TASTE ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!! My friend tried some and said that they tasted amazing (which I think actually made it worse for me...). Despite not being able to taste the food, the dinner experience was quite pleasant. After dinner, we returned to the hostel to watch some Japanese tv before going to sleep.
The next day we were off to see some ninjas in Mie!
There are more photos below