Oh hi there. We’re in Nara for the night, but we spent most the day in Osaka. after a late night on day 9, we started our day in sunglasses and drinking calorific iced drinks in Starbucks. This deviation from “seeing Japan” was only brief, and we walked up to see the castle and surrounding park. Wow. It was like being in Central Park.
It is a holiday in Japan which explains why all the streets have been so busy. The park was filled with people running, cycling, and having picnics.
There was even some sort of rock concert happening, and a running race. Ugh – I of course didn’t run, so I presume all the runners were just out to make me feel bad.
It was really beautiful and felt genuinely vibrant and how a buzzing city should be. Plus, there was some pretty impressive castle to be seen.
This is the largest rock used in the castle infrastructure. Insanely big.
A key learning from our time here is that the Japanese have what must be the best network of public toilets anywhere in the world Every subway station has them, they’re open, and clean. They don’t have soap or any way to dry your hands, but they do have toilet paper. I can live with this. But seriously, they’re everywhere. Check out this map of the castle gardens and see how many there are…
The symbol is the one you see dotted round the lower half of the map. I can count 13 sets. I bloody love this country.
From there, it was time to pick up the mega cases (I had not missed those) and travel to Nara. The train was only about 45 minutes, and Matthew slept for about 43 of those. No photo; what’s going on???
We’re staying in a Japanese style hotel here. We were given our yukata and green tea in our rooms when we arrived.
You might be asking yourself where the bed is. Well, the futons are laid out during the evening.
We do have a private bathroom, but there is shared bathing available and some rooms don’t have bathrooms. We’re right by Nara Park, which seems to be the old town. I think I booked this mostly because of running which absolutely MUST happen tomorrow.
After our tea, we headed out into Nara for early dinner. It was such a change in pace from all the cities we’d been to, in a great way. Streets were so much quieter.
We went to a restaurant the woman who brought our tea at the hotel recommended, as a personal favourite of hers. It was another kaiseki-style meal, and oh my God, there was so much of it – and it was all fabulous. Lots of vegetables, which I think we both needed.
There was a silken tofu starter, that I failed to photograph.
then finally, pudding and tea.
The mochi was homemade, and delicious. The restaurant has its own farm for growing the majority of the vegetables, and the service was polite and friendly. I think this is a front-runner for the best meal we’ve had in Japan – and competition has been stiff!
After all that food, we went for a little wander back to our hotel, and a little way into Nara park which is directly behind it.
Thank goodness, our beds are now here. I am ready for mine. Matthew doesn’t appear to have quite made it to his.
More Nara fun – including a run in the presence of what appear to be quite tame, to the point of aggressive, deer – tomorrow.