Beautiful Nara

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
ML International hostel & Couchsurfed

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Friday, November 5, 2010

Hello to all of you!

As you can tell we are trying to blitz these blogs as my parents come to Thailand next week and we want them done before they get here. 

We left Osaka for Nara in the morning. They are very close and it only took 40 mins. Nara is Japan's first capital city and in our view a must see destination if you ever come to Japan.

We had two days in Nara and decided that day 2 would be day that we would discover all the sites. It turned out that the weekend we were visiting Nara was the 1300 year anniversary. Great! Subsequently that also meant that everywhere was booked up! So our first night was spent in a hostel/homestay. Unlike the one in Yekaterinberg the owner was lovely and not a weirdo! In fact he was so nice that the following day he left really early to go to his friends wedding and he left us alone in his home! How trusting is that? He even offered us to stay the 2nd night but we had already decided to couchsurf. 

The only thing we did on that first day was go for lunch (surprise, surprise.) We had Okonomiyaki again but this time we had our own hot plates on our table and cooked our own dish. They would never allow that in Europe with the health and safety brigade! 

Our 2nd day was a lot more eventful and can only happen when you are backpacking. We left our homestay and headed to the place where we would be couchsurfing for the night : A Dance studio! That's right we were going to spend the night in a Dance Studio as our hostess is a Belly dancing instructor from Indonesia. It was really kind of Dessy to take us in at such short notice. As we got there we were instantly teaching two little Japanese kids English as Dessy is also an English teacher. There was also a Spanish lad called Mateu couch surfing and the 3 of us sat there for 30mins teaching these two adorable Japanese kids English. I told you that that these things only happen when you backpack! 

After the English lesson, Mateu (hey mate!), Karen & I headed out to see Nara. Nara is so safe, Dessy said to leave her door unlocked as she has never locked it in 8 years of living there! Wow, Japan never stops amazing us. 

Nara is really beautiful and with all the autumnal colours it made it even more so. There are many old Buddhist temples scattered around the huge park to the north of the city, some of them date back to the founding of the city. There are also many deer roaming around like we had back in Miyajima but these ones you can feed with special deer crackers you buy from stalls along the way. Although we did see one woman happily munching away on them too. As soon as you open the bag of their food the deer surround you! Bambi can be a greedy git! ha ha.

On the way to one of the temples we popped into this building that is Earthquake proof. They give you an example of the force of an earthquake by sitting in this chair that throws you about. They then show you what the same earthquake would feel like if you were in this particular building. The difference was huge! As we were showing interest in how it all worked this lovely Old Japanese guy that worked in the place took us outside and showed us the two plates under the building. The technology used is amazing. Basically when there is an earthquake the building slides a few centimeters on these plates which means it doesn't jerk and nothing gets broken

We carried on with our walking tour which was recommended in Lonely Planet and was a great way to see the city. Our next stop was some giant Buddha's. Again they were amazing, although not as impressive as the ones in Datong. The most impressive site was this temple at the top of the park that has loads and loads of lanterns outside. I am talking about 1000's of the things. They light them up twice a year which must look out of this world.  

After our packed day we were Dessy, Mateu, Karen & I headed out to a Sushi place that Dessy knew. Oh my god the place was amazing. It only had 7 seats at the counter but did the most amazing Sushi and the best Sake we have ever drank. It was a brilliant night and we really had fun with Dessy and Mateu. It was a shame it was for only 1 night as the following day we were leaving for Kyoto. 

After the wonderful meal we headed back to Dessy's and went up to our "room". The dance studio. It was a surreal end to a surreal day. Top fun though!

See you in Kyoto!!!

Paul & Karen xxx  
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