9 Dec 2012 – Nara

We took a little day trip to Nara whilst we were staying in Kyoto. It’s only 45 min away by train.

Our expectations were quite high as Nara is rated very high on the must see lists in many tour guides, but we felt it didn’t quite live up to it’s reputation. It wasn’t all a loss to go to Nara though, we had some other great experiences that created lovely memories for us.

The Todai-ji Temple (the largest wooden building in the world) is massive and impressive for sure and the deer are of course very cute – but also a bit cheeky and ‘beggy’ for food as they are used to be fed by the tourists and sometimes entertaining. One actually grabbed a tourists paper bag of food and ran off with it!

We went to a Sake brewery called Harushika  for a tasting. It’s said that Sake originated in Nara. The tasting was only 400 yen per person (a bargain at £3.50), with that you got to try 6 different sake’s, some interesting nibbles, like smoked chestnut bark (tastier than it sounds!) and you got to keep the little glass cups too! It was a great and interesting experience to sample these sake’s, my favourite was the last one, which was an additional 6th to the regular 5, which was a sparkling one! I had no idea they made sparkling sake, it was delicious!

We also met an interesting character in Nara. A japanese man approached us and started speaking with us, asking where we were from and the conversation went on. He was telling us how he had just come back from travelling around South Korea and that he had travelled all over, he had been in Sweden and that he used to live in London, in Walthamstow in fact, in the late 90’s writing for The Big Issue. He also told us that he has written a book called An American Breakfast and his name is Hideo Asano. And he had excellent taste in back packs as you can see in the photo.

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