For our last day in Osaka, we decided to go on a side trip to Nara. 

The beauty about traveling to Osaka is that it is so close to many other points of interest that are accessible enough for a day trip.
There's Kobe  and Hiroshama to name a few but I really wanted to see some deers so Hello, Nara!

sidetrip to nara copy
We vowed to leave our AirBnb early to make the most out of the day but our nights were equally long and tiring so we ended up leaving around 10am already if I remember right.

And that's us! Me, with my new luggage from Hedgren which I had to carry around everywhere. After a week of traveling with it, I am in love! It was so light compared to the others and a few pounds count especially when you have to carry them up several flights of stairs! (more on that in my coming posts GAH!)

SO if you're looking for new luggage, I highly recommend this. It's tough (I began dragging it when I couldn't find the strength to carry it anymore, and it's wheels + body survived! lol)

filipina travel blogger
Despite leaving quite late, I was still sleepy. Haha

osaka travel diaries
But there's nothing like the excitement of bustling Shinsaibashi to wake you right up and alert your senses!

Since it was close to lunch time and it was beginning to drizzle again, we decided to grab a bite at this hole in the wall restaurant in one of Dotonbori's corners.

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It solved the problem of us not being able to  agree on where to eat because they served everything! Haha

It was quite affordable, around YEN 800 for a bento and they had an english menu. Sadly, the food for me was just so, so. Not bad but not great either.


what to eat in osaka

After quite a hefty lunch it was finally time to head to Nara Deer Park! (yay)

We got there in an hour via the Kintetsu-NARA Line and it only cost YEN 560 for a one way ticket.

japan train ticket
You'll know where to exit because you'll find cute cartoon drawings of deers everywhere!

nara train station
Upon exiting the station, you'll also find this retail complex to your right, it's also where we later had lunch.

places to eat near nara park
Across the street you'll find a Lawson with free and fast Wifi (another yay) and a H.I.S. Travel Agency + the NARA Tourist Information Center.

his tourist information center nara
They people who work at H.I.S.  speak english and I found them to be very polite and helpful especially when we were in need of directions. You can also purchase discounted tickets to various tours and attractions here so it's worth a visit.

And lastly, you can rent a bike if you don't feel like walking all the way to the park and they also store your luggage for only YEN 540 - that's cheaper than a coin locker if you have large luggage with you (a coin locker charges YEN 700 for that). However, I'm not sure if they'll be able to accommodate you during peak season that's why we still chose to leave ours in the subway coin lockers. Better safe than have to drag those heavy things with us all the way to the park!

nara tourist information center
As you continue to walk uphill towards the park, you'll find signs like these which point to different tourist spots in the area.

things to do in nara park
And you'll know you're near the actual park because you'll begin to (quite literally), BUMP! into deers along the sidewalk! Awwww!!!

Sweet right?

how to get to nara deer park 

See how this one looks bored to death? It's because she realized I didn't have any deer biscuits with me!

For these guys, it's biscuits or bust!

nara deer park 3 
As soon as she found out I was emtpy-handed, off she went! And so did I, in search for more deer to fool into petting.

nara deer park blog
Towards the heart of the park, I finally came across these deer biscuit stands, a stack costs only YEN 150! I was tempted to get some but after seeing the way they flock biscuit carrying tourists, I decided not to. They are relentless! Even more so than the monkeys at Uluwatu.

Only difference is, they dont' have limbs and fingers to steal from you but if they did, I'm sure they would've done the same! Haha

deer food at nara park

So instead, I continued to shake my bag and pretend I had food inside so they'd come near me for photos!

nara deer park experience 1 
I tell ya, it's the only way!

nara deers
On second thought, I should've bought those biscuits! These guys are too adorable!

It's like you know they're using you but it's okay.

nara park experience 
After 100,638,881 deer photos, we finally moved on to check out the rest of the park.

Guess what? More deers!

And also pretty buildings like this one scattered around. I love the photo of these 2 women standing by the fence with umbrellas.

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Along the way, we also passed several souvenir stores selling all sorts of Deer memorabilia...

nara deer park souvenir shop

and snacks like these cold chocolate mochi with fresh strawberries that were EXTREMELY delicious!

daifuku nara park
As we approached the Nandaimon Gate, we came across this old man and this deer!

deers at nara park 
I think he lives around the area because they seem to have some sort of special relationship going on... like a trainer - dog kinda thing. He could make this deer do tricks. It was a delight seeing them enjoy each other's company so much.

trained deer at nara 
And here's the Nandaimon Gate which houses two fierce looking, giant wooden statues that represent the  Nio Guardian Kings. Both the gate and the statues are considered to be National Treasures because, Awesome.

Seriously impressive. Seems as if it was carved out of a single block of wood and they really tower over you.

ungyo nio

After crossing the gate, take a short walk and you'll finally end up here:
  todaji temple grounds

The entrance to the Todaji Temple where Japan's largest bronze Budhhas are kept (15 meters tall!).

great budhha hall ticket prices

To get inside, you need to pay YEN 800.


todaji temple main hall 
I'm not sure why, but we chose not to go inside...maybe I will during my next visit in October (will update this post if I do)

Instead, we decided to walk around a bit and check out this museum:

nara park museum

The museum has different exhibits scheduled throughout the year. The one they were showing at that time was about paper. No one was really interested so we decided not to buy a ticket. I forgot how much it costs but I think around YEN 500.

nara park museum1
Soon after, our tummies began to rumble again and we still had to catch a train to Kyoto so we decided to leave the park and head back to the station for a late lunch.

where to eat in nara
Ended up at this quaint little restaurant with a sweet old Japanese lady server.

where to eat in nara1

I had Tekka Makki

tekka makki nara
And Cold Soba, both yum!

TIP: Restaurant prices are a bit steeper the closer you are to tourist spots. This meal cost me around YEN 1600. If you want to save, eat somewhere else first or there's always Lawson!

cold soba nara
After our meal, we headed back to Namba to retrieve our bags and catch a night train to Kyoto!

Beautiful Kyoto! Will write about that next!

train to kyoto







***more info about NARA here

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hoped you enjoyed reading about our side trip to nara from osaka!