I knew our luck with trains couldn’t last forever and this morning I managed to get us onto the right train, but going in the wrong direction. By the time we’d realised my mistake and managed to rectify it we’d missed our next train to Kyoto. Thankfully as Kyoto is only 15 minutes away from Osaka by bullet train it is a regular service so we still got there at a decent time.
We were booked onto an afternoon tour to Nara but had plenty of time to spare so after finding our hotel and dumping our bags we caught the train out to Fushimi Inari shrine. This has been voted the number one foreign tourist attraction in Kyoto on Trip Advisor and you could tell. Everywhere else we had been we had seen only a couple of non-Asian people, here there were loads (the same was true for the rest of Kyoto and Nara).
Fushimi Inari shrine is famous for it’s paths up the mountain lined with hundreds of Torii gates. They are lovely and the higher you go up the mountain the thinner the crowds become. We didn’t have time to go to the top but we did find a tea house on the edge of the mountain overlooking the gates so we stopped for a drink and some lunch. I had a very yummy tempura shrimp with Udon noodles.
Back down at the bottom we got we rejoined the crowds and got our train back to our hotel ready to meet our afternoon tour.
Our bus tour to Nara started with a trip to Todaiji Temple which is the largest wooden building in the world and inside is the giant Buddha which is one of the largest bronze statues in the world. Our guide was very informative telling us of the history of the building and the significance of the symbols inside. It is definitely worth going to see if around Nara.
The Todaiji Temple is set within Nara Park which is also known as “Deer Park” as there are hundreds of deer living in the grounds. They are considered sacred so along the path there are stalls selling deer biscuits. Of course Fraser had to buy some and was promptly swarmed by deer following, butting and nibbling at him to try and get some of his cookies.
Once we’d made our way through the deer back to the bus we set off for Kasuga Grand Shrine which is a short walk up a hill. There are lots of lanterns at this shrine but it did not wow us as much as some of the previous shrines we have seen.
We then were driven back to our hotel. Fraser went out to find a cash machine (you have to go to a 7/11 to use foreign cards) and 3 hours later he returned ready for bed after getting very lost and stopping for an okonomiyaki.