Monday 14 November 2016

Osaka Day 2: Nara Park

Woke up this morning after a good night's sleep despite getting kicked by the boy a number of times because the hotel does not provide baby cots. The first thing I did was make a trip to the onsen (but of course!).

As our room did not include breakfast, we had our brunch at Yayoiken (we have this in Singapore too!) just down the road from our hotel.

Left: Yayoiken at Nippombashi;
Right: Self-ordering and payment kiosks
(they should totally have this in Singapore!).
Clockwise from left: My beef set with millet rice;
The Japanese omelette was really tasty!;
The kimchi seafood set for my mum-in-law as she doesn't eat beef.
The hubby's sukiyaki set

After our brunch, we took a short 5 minute walk to Nippombashi Station, the nearest station to our hotel. We were informed by the staff to go one level down to the Kintetsu Railway to take the Kintetsu Line to Nara. The nice thing about this station is that you can take the Rapid Express Train directly to Nara Station (do wait patiently for it as it's a lot faster).

If you are in doubt, ask the Service Manager, who is stationed at Nippombashi Station around the area where you purchase your tickets, for help. They are able to speak both English and Mandarin and are very helpful. The Service Manager was the one who told us which train to take and what time. She also told us how much it cost (560 yen per adult and child, one way) and how to pay for it using the ticketing machines. It was our first time so it was so useful having someone help us through it. The knowledge I learnt helped me with using the ticketing machines myself for the rest of the trip, especially when there was no staff available to help.

Kintetsu-Nippombashi Station
Clockwise from left: Taking photos while waiting for the train to arrive;
Look out for the Rapid Express (usually in red) with the words Nara on the Information Board at the platform;
The Rapid Express train that we took to Nara.

It took us approximately 40 minutes to get to Nara Station. It didn't feel long at all since we got to watch the beautiful scenery as we passed by.

Welcome to Nara!
At a display at Nara Station

As you can see, deer are literally everywhere in Nara: it is their mascot, it's in their posters, it's on their roads and signboards... everywhere!

We headed straight to Nara Park, which comprised of several smaller parks (you can find your way easily using Google Maps).

Beautiful autumn scenery!
Clockwise from left: A man selling deer food for 150 yen each. It's the same price across the sellers.
Do note that you are not allowed to feed the deer any other type of food except those purchased from the sellers;
A notice board with a map of the area and another Obasan selling the deer food;
Signs on the roads warn you to be careful of deer crossing.

The main purpose of travelling all this way to Nara was to feed the lovely docile deer that freely roam the park. As long as you keep your respectful distance and not scare them, you should be ok. The deer here are very used to humans.

We bought two of these to feed the deer =)
Mum-in-law feeding a deer as we walked by

I was surprised at how much my boy adored the deer! Considering that his first encounter with one was immediately after he opened his eyes from his nap (the deer was in his face expecting food), you would think that the shock from seeing an animal in your face when you just woke up will scare you. Apparently not for my boy!

He was not even fazed when the deer licked his hands. He would gaze lovingly, touch and feed them while grinning widely. He did not even react this way when we interacted with the birds and rabbits at the Animal Resort in Singapore (he was indifferent to most of the animals there).

My boy interacting with the deer and enjoying it!
(whenever I ask him if he likes feeding the deer, he would respond with a loud, "yah!")

My girl, on the other hand, was so afraid that she stayed far away and panicked whenever one would come slightly close to her. As you know, I'm a psychologist and can't let this kind of behaviour continue (work hazard *laughs*) so I employed some behavioural conditioning strategies to get her to overcome her fear. I first got her to stand near to a deer with a barrier in between (she was so scared that even this was difficult for her -_-") before progressing her steadily to standing nearer and nearer a deer.

Although her grandma was standing with her, you can tell she was at least trying to overcome her fear
(which is written all over her face!)

Along the road, we walked passed the Nara National Museum and stopped for a photo because the park surrounding it was very pretty!

Outside Nara National Musuem
(Address: 50 Noboriōji-chō, Nara city 630-8213, Japan)
Me feeding a deer
A group photo taken by a fellow tourist

When we had finished feeding the deer all of our food, we made our way to Todai-ji Temple.

Shops and buildings near Narahimuro Shrine, as we walked to Todaiji

Do note that it was quite a bit of walking required so be prepared with comfortable shoes.

Todai-ji Temple was bustling with both tourists and locals alike! The street leading up to Nandaimon Gate was filled with people!

Nandaimon Gate
Clockwise from left: A warning to visitors that not all the deer are friendly;
There are rules that everyone needs to follow to ensure that the deer are protected;
Todai-ji is a historical monument of ancient Nara.
Got the hubby to take a picture of me and the surrounding park because it was so pretty
The hubby got an opportunity to get up close with one deer

We were actually more interested in shopping at the Tax Free Shop below than the actual temple actually! *laughs*

Spent most of our time shopping here, which was really enjoyable =)

Before we left, I made sure that my girl progressed to the final stage of overcoming her fear: feeding the deer!

We decided to start her off with the smallest one. So small that it can't even fit one whole biscuit into his mouth.

My girl, finally feeding a deer, albeit the baby of the herd

The deer at the temple were very aggressive (one even head-butted the hubby in an attempt to get another biscuit) so we decided to feed the friendlier ones on our way back to Nara Station.

The boy was still smiling even though two deer cornered him for biscuits while the sister was standing far away (-_-).
We tried to take a selfie but it wasn't successful as I did not want to get too close and scare it.
The highlight of the day for my boy. I'm glad I can see this side of him =)
So rare to get a nice photo of me with the kids! =)
Lovely wet weather for a walk in the park;
We made my girl feed the last biscuit to one of the deer as we walked passed =)

Before we returned to Osaka, we walked down a street near the entrance to Nara Station in search of a ramen restaurant for lunch.

Shipping street near Nara Station (Kintetsu Line)
McDonald's with Nara's mascot! So cute!

We found Tenkaippin, which was so popular that we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table.

Clockwise from left: Cha shu ramen and gyoza;
My girl enjoying the delicious fried chicken that came with the set;
The signboard in case you're looking for the restaurant.
The broth was really thick and delicious! Yummy =)

With our stomachs satisfied, we took the Kintetsu Railway back to Nippombashi where we spent the rest of the evening roaming the streets of Dotonbori again (we're here almost everyday since it's located so close to our hotel).

A selfie of me and my happy boy on the Kintetsu Railway

It's like a must for me to visit Daiso in Japan even though the high exchange rate made buying stuff from there less worth it (since we can find it in Singapore). We went anyway just to see if we can find anything interesting that is not available in Singapore.

Left: Handmade origami earrings that I bought from Nara. So cute! And no, it's not from Daiso =P
Right: Daiso Namba
(Address: 〒542-0076 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Namba, 1 Chome−1−5−16, 大阪B&Vビル, Japan)

Because we were still full from our late lunch (and we have free ramen at our hotel later), we took away Osaka Ohsho's famous gyoza and Dotobori Konamon Museum's takoyaki for dinner at our hotel room =)

Osaka Ohsho is the one with the gigantic gyoza!
Our dinner is served! Yum!
(noodles randomly bought for the kids. Can't remember from where)

I ended the day with a good bath at the onsen as well. One could totally get used to this! *laughs*

Continue to >> Osaka Day 3: Arashiyama & Kiyomizu, Kyoto
<< Back to Osaka Day 1: Onyado Nono Namba Natural Hot Spring Hotel & Dotonbori


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