I don't think a trip to Kyoto/Osaka would be complete without a short detour to Nara, once the capital of Japan.
It was a quiet and rather relaxing walk...... we passed an interesting looking "local-kine place" along the way.
We saw a branch of Ko Hi Kan Coffee along the way, so we decided to stop and get our caffeine fix for the morning. Pour-over of course.....per the Missus.
It was a nice cup(s) of coffee, which energized our rather tired bones for the walk.
It was just a short walk to the Nara Park area.
We ended up spending the most of our time in a couple of areas; the first being Kofuku-ji, once the temple of the Fujiwara-shi, once one of the most powerful families in Japan.
The Pagoda here was undergoing repairs when we visited; but the grounds were really quite beautiful....in a stark and spartan way.
We soon entered the heart of Nara Park; famous for their temples...and of course the aggressive deer. Actually, I found the deer here to be much more mellow than the super aggressive deer in Miyajima. Though you might have a different opinion if you've ever read Lynnea's post on Nara. That last photo in that post is still a favorite of mine.
Just in case you hadn't been informed of the risks of screwing around with the rather cute four-legged friends....there are signs that explain the possible hazards of messing around with them.
I believed that the biggest draw to Nara would be Tōdai-ji.
Based on the crowds that lines the Main Gate, I'd say that my statement is pretty much correct.
The Daibutsu-den, which houses the world's largest bronze rendering of Buddha is quite impressive.
The bronze Buddha which is also quite impressive at 49 feet tall and 92 feet across at the shoulders! This is a image of Dainichi Buddha, the "Celestial Buddha", the source from which all other Buddha's emanate.
There's a lot to see here. There are other statues, like the rather mencing and imposing looking Komokuten; Buddha's Guard who is stepping upon a demon, yet brandishing a scroll and brush, symbolizing both the power and wisdom of the Sutras over ignorance.
To the right of the Buddha sits Nyoirin Kannon.
And, for those who want enlightenment.....you can try to pass through a hole in one of the pillars deemed Buddha's Nostril. Passing through the hole means that you be granted enlightenment....though I believe it doesn't happen until your next life. Plus, I read that it's only about 20 inches wide....the size of Buddha's nostrils.......better leave this to the one of the school kids; many of whom still struggled to get through.
It was fun watching all the school kids trying to pass through the hole....each one had a photo taken...proof that enlightenment will be bestowed upon them. Personally, I did gain a bit of enlightenment....but it happened in the form of the restroom sign. I learned the power of a single space...where Gentleman....became "Gentle Man". Now that's powerful, right?
Kids of all ages came to visit Tōdai-ji. This group of really young ones seemed so cute and charming. They were so little, that a few of them needed help going down the stairs.
And of course, they sell "senbei".....crackers for the deer...which means every group of school kids became a feeding frenzy.
It was starting to get really crowded. Which meant it was time to "hele".
Initially, the plan was to have lunch in Nara, but we decided to head back to Osaka. Just a few blocks from the busy arcades of Dotonburi resides Kuromon Market.
Along with the numerous shops were countless food stalls, selling everything from live blowfish to Kobe Beef. And there was even a good sized supermarket in the middle of it all.
It also wasn't easy deciding on what to get. We actually did a walkthrough of the entire market area before making our selections. It was hard resisting all the Kobe beef....especially since you could "burn your meat after ordering"....
The Missus chose a selection of nimono and ohitashi for a nice meal from the very friendly folks at another stand.
It made for a very nice lunch.
After finishing up, we headed to the market to grab some beverages and snacks for the evening. At first I was just going to grab 2-3 items, but ended up with quite a load. While walking the aisles I felt a tap on the shoulder. I turned to find a kind looking, elderly gentleman smiling at me. He had two shopping baskets in hand....and passed one of them to me. Such a thoughtful gesture. You gotta love Osaka.
2-4-1 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka