Lets go to Nara!!!! Yes i know – another very turistic place so i should stop moaning about the people around. Apologies. But u cant miss out Nara. Perfect one day trip from Kyoto (JRP for free), 45 minutes. My train was beautifully packed so i ended up standing all way long having a funny conversation with 2 italian gentlemen.
Got there – u grab a map from the station and just start walking. The main attraction and park is at East – there is a couple of temples on the West and South end of Nara – but the map tricks u – i thought those things like 20 minutes walk but in real distance i was walking an hour – and in the middle of the notverypretty town. So just take this into consideration – and i suggest u to follow the crowd. Thru the downtown and main shopping streets (i had to stop in a bakery and try the soymilk shortbread) u will get to the ‘entrance’ of the park. I wont bother u with details, plenty of beautiful, great, massive buildings to see and suddenly u will find yourself surrounded by deers! Yes DEERs!
Loooots of lovely deers hanging out here waiting u to feed them. U can actually buy bambi shaped cookies for them – dont use anything else (ok ok – i gave them a half apple, i think its alright lol). Some of them are pretty shy but most of them seem very happy to pose with u for a selfie.
Dont forget to keep walking. And walking. The whole park is free except the biggest attraction of course – Todai-ji where u can find the Great Buddha (World Heritage). Todai-ji Daibutsu-den its the largest wooden building and Buddha inside is the largest bronze figure in the world. Ticket costs 800yen so it was not violence.
Was a lovely day – got back home just on time to have a last walk thru the famous Nishiki Market. GOD. U HAVE TO SEE THIS. This is a perfect place to try looots of things for free as i mentioned before.
Chef’s tipp; u have to try…
TSUKEMONO. I did mention before and probably i will mention again and again because this is my favourite stuff. Pickles. Not just vegetables but fish, tofu etc. With everything. Big favourite everything preserved with miso and yuzu pickled daikon.
CHIRIMEN. Or TAZUKURI. Or SHIRASU. All of these are small dried fish. They have the fish, season it heavily (soy, sugar, spicies – they look like ‘candied’ ) then dry out. Using as a snack or its a beautiful umami seasoning actually over rice or a nice bite of fish.
YUBA. Well – all sort of tofu stuff. There are a couple of tofu stands in the market where they freshly make different style and flavoured tofu, soymilk, yuba (which is soymilk skin) etc. I had tried superfresh warm soymilk and yuba – both soft and crunchy ways. Love it. (i was pretty happy not going to have that very expensive tofu set lunch before seeing the prices of these massive blocks of tofu i could never finish by myself – around 1000-1500yen, so that was definitely overpriced)
MOCHI. Japan signiture sweet. To be fair… its a rice cake made out from ‘mochigome’ which is is shortgrain glutinous rice using water, sugar, cornstarch. If its well made – superdelicious. Try not to buy mochi whats in a box – unless if they pack that box for u. Never know how long that cake was sitting in there and mochi best fresh. U saw my video before – in Nara the end of the shopping street on the corner they make mochi almost outside on the street as a show. Men are very noisy so u cant miss it cause they keep shouting while they hammering the masa. Its good cause they sell mochi by piece (enough to try) for 100yen, made with matcha and filled with redbean. It was still warm when i had it – its covered with toasted ground rice so it wont stick.
SPECIAL FLAVOURED ICECREAMS. Do it. Japanese love soft icecreams, i tried as many flavours as i could like: matcha, soymilk, black sesame, ube, seasalt, soybean, bitter melon (this was so disgustingly bad that i could NOT finish). Also plenty of places in Nishiki Market where they sell u yakitories (they skewer everything!!!), oysters, sea urchin, scallops, ready to go sashimi and so on. Appearantly u are not allowed to eat and walk in the same time so expect some crowds in front of eateries.
Oh and go hungry.