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A solitary day in Nara!

A solitary day in Nara!

Its 8:00am

I’ve got a free day today, its my last week in Osaka and I am thinking I must visit Nara today.  I had planned on going to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe and only succeeded in going to Kyoto so far. Its either I have a quiet weekend at home or take up the opportunity to visit Nara. I decide to visit Nara as this was always my plan  So I get ready, download what apps I might need and I head out to the train station.

9:30

I am in the train headed to Nara, the ticket was cheap and luckily its a direct train. I go over my plans and the list of places I need to visit. The train ride will take 30 minutes. The train isn’t packed and after going over my plans, I relocate to a window seat. Japan is truly beautiful, there are no longer tall buildings in the vicinity, the train is passing through the country side and the scenes seem like something out of a painting. It’s beautiful to see how the houses have been built to accommodate the natural landscape. A truly artistic sight.

10:01

I arrive at Nara station, I see a bunch of Caucasian high school kids headed for the bus. I decide to walk to save costs. I am off to a good start, my google maps shows am headed in the right direction, I am doubly assured as I can see non Japanese faces on my path as well.

There should be a temple nearby, I can’t find it. I keep on moving. My first picture of the day, I walked all the way to the end but it wasn’t anything. No persons there and the gate was closed.

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my first picture of the day
I keep on walking. The next stop is another temple, there aren’t many tourists there, but the gatekeeper seems nice so I decide to take a look inside, Again not so much to see.

10:40

Three Storeyed Pagoda

Finally a sight I had seen on the maps, The three story pagoda, Again not so many people here,  how did pagodas come about anyway? I take a quick look around and move on.

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The oldest three storeyed pagoda in Japan

10:50

Kofuku-ji Temple

I arrive at Kofuku-ji temple, this once belonged to the Fujiwara family, now a national treasure and world heritage site. Below you can see the Eastern Golden Hall, the Five storey pagoda and the southern octagonal hall. Its enough for me to take a few pictures and admire the architecture. I keep moving.

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Southern Octagonal hall
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Five story pagoda
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Eastern golden hall
11:20

Nara Park

Its the deers, I heard they are so polite if you feed them crackers they bow to you. Everyone’s excited about the deers, they are like,  real animals, so am keeping my distance, am close enough to take pictures yeah but no touching. I see a few tourists on rented bikes and begin to wonder why I never learnt how to ride one. The thought doesn’t linger for too long as it begins to rain and am sure glad am not on a bicycle and I brought my umbrella, yay!

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11:50

Nara National Museum

In this picture you can see a part of the Nara National museum, it has different entrances and exhibit rooms, I am only able to look through two. I didn’t know that Buddha had different hand signs and each having their peculiar meanings, quite interesting. Was I allowed to take pictures? I don’t remember. Their souvenirs are a bit pricey, so I move on. It takes me a while to navigate myself on to the path leading to Todaiji Temple.

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12:30

I stumble across Himuro Jinja shrine there aren’t a lot of people, but it sure seems interesting. There is one priest praying or performing some ritual, i observe for a while and leave.

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12:50 

Todaiji Temple

Its Todaiji temple, I know am at the right place not only because of the signs but also due to the large number of tourists here. There are still deers everywhere, I get a little bolder, I touch 1, yayy 😀 I take in the sights a little bit more.  The structuring of the entrance to the temples is quite interesting

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The 1st entry point

13:10

I’ve paid for my tickets, I go inside the temple. There’s a large Buddha, and another one and yet another large statue and some other structures of Japanese Buildings. I am sure I spent not more than 15 minutes taking in everything and that was enough for me, perhaps I really do need to tap into my artistic side or I couldn’t handle the crowd.I get some souvenirs on my way out, I admire the ponds and look around some more and am off to the next place I can find.

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Todaiji temple is a UNESCO world heritage site
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Buddha statue

13:40

Kasuga taisha Shrine

I am sure glad I wore my hiking shoes, I am now headed towards kasuga taisha shrine. Its quite big, I want to see every nook and cranny. There were a lot of tourists on my way here, but getting here, I  can’t see many, this was also a shrine of the Fujiwara family.

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Oh by the way, did you know there is a difference between shrines and temple in japan? maybe there;s always been a difference but I didn’t know that before going to Japan.

14:10

Next stop is Wakamiya Jinja shrine, its really quiet here. There’s a forest nearby so I decide to do a little hiking, I get a little bit deep into the woods, well then I get scared so I head back for where I can find people.

14:30

Kasugayama Primeval Forest

I think its still the same forest, I can see more people and more deers, haha these ones aren’t bowing to you after you’ve fed them, they are running after those feeding them for more. A funny sight to behold.

As I observe by the sidelines, I try to take pictures of them and I see them running towards me, of course I run away, with a middle aged Japanese man laughing in the distance 😀 What goes around comes around eh 😀

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14:50

There’s another park around, with ponds and relaxing places, I wonder around a bit. I get to practice my Japanese with a couple urging their son to speak some English.

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16:00

I skipped breakfast, I haven’t had lunch and am still not hungry, its beginning to get dark, So I am now careful to work towards the train station, but taking my time at every stop and building. I come across the market road, I go through almost every shop, Its still drizzling by the way. Its amazing how every time I leave my umbrella in the umbrella holder outside the store I return to find it there. I get more souvenirs.

Am almost at the end of the street now.I see a bakery shop, it looks quite modernized, I go in to take a look, the products are expensive. While am in the shop, everyone customer who has come in has left without buying anything.  I feel bad to leave also not getting anything, so I get a single pastry, the lady gives me another pastry as a service gift. I profusely thank  her and take my leave. Its not too dark yet, and I just need to cross one more street to reach the train station.

the cakes were really nice
the cakes were really nice

16: 50

I am quite used to getting a ticket by myself now. I get one back to Tennoji and I board the train a few minutes after. Its a bit fuller than the train I arrived on.

I am glad, I got to visit this once ancient capital of Japan, I didn’t see everything Nara boasts of but I did see something, I’ve got some souvenirs, I’ve got something edible. I contemplate on going straight to Tennoji or heading to Dotonbori for a stroll, eh I decide on Tennoji.

17:30

The train arrives Tennoji. Its only been a few weeks here, but it sure does feel familiar. Heading home, I feel quite accomplished and satisfied.



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