Nara at a glance
18.06.2010 - 19.06.2010 27 °C
Rie very kindly accompanied us back to Tokyo by coach, then we met Kiyo for dinner and a proper farewell before boarding the overnight double-decker coach to Nara. We arrived early but Hiroko's mum Yoko was already there to meet us, thanks to excellent planning by all concerned. Thanks everyone!
After breakfast Yoko took us to the famous local deer park, a series of lush gardens populated by what seems like a hundred or so spotted deer. They are used to hand feeding and very cute! Naturally we had a go at feeding them, and Nerdia can report that, just like elephants, they drool a lot. All over your trousers, in fact, while they're poking through your pockets looking for more food. Didn't mind in the least, though, as they are still very cute.
The same parkland houses the largest wooden structure in the world, a mammoth temple housing Japan's biggest Buddha statue - which is 1300 years old! One of the massive timber support columns is the same width as the statue's nose, and has been hollowed out so visitors can 'crawl through Buddha's nose'. Watching a high school student get stuck in front of his guffawing peers was quite amusing, but the photos didn't turn out well so we won't post them.
Took respite from the humidity in a flash new restaurant at one end of the park, where we were served... gourmet BBQ chicken with potato wedges, salad and bread roll. Sort of a 5 star Red Rooster. Yummy nonetheless!
Then Yoko took us on a wander through the back streets of Nara city, a fascinating mix of souvenir shops and more traditional food or craft outlets in a maze of narrow laneways and authentic, ancient buildings made from mud and straw covered in fire-blackened timber. Sampled kakigori, a Japanese dessert made from flaked ice, green tea, sugar syrup and sweet beans. Interesting bu not unpleasant.
Now we're watching Japan versus the Netherlands in the World Cup, before heading off to Osaka tomorrow. Mata ne! Plane Boy and Nerdia.