After a really fun day yesterday, on day 6, we only wanted to go to Nara for half day and spend the rest of the day in Osaka, maybe Tsutenkaku tower, Den den Town, Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street. And finish off the day with a proper okonomiyaki from one of the restaurant in Dotonbori 🙂
When I first did our itinerary planning, I wasn’t sure to add Nara in our list. Having seen many people say how nice Nara is and that it could easily takes two days to explore the area; my initial thought was exclude Nara this time. Maybe we can save this to our next Japan trip. Then I saw few travel bloggers who did Nara in half day, went only to the major temple and they seemed to have lots of fun regardless. So in the end we decided to include Nara for half day and if we like it, we could come back again next trip.
Our trip to Nara started with a train to Nara Kintetsu station. There are two major train stations in Nara: JR Nara and Nara Kintetsu. Nara Kintetsu is more popular due to its closer proximity to some major tourist attractions in Nara also more economical than JR train.
Honestly, I just totally forgot to do some research before came here. I just assumed it will be a one big temple with a park and many deer. Now that I am doing this post, I just realised we had missed out a lot!!! That’s what happened when you go unprepared 🙁 Arrghhh anyway, there shall be another time.
On exiting the station, we mainly just followed where most people were going which was to Nara Park and Temples. As we walked towards Todaiji Temple, we passed some parks and saw many loose wild deer on the street! Most of them just mind themselves, they approached you only when they think you have food for them. There are a few stalls that sell shika senbei (deer crackers) for ¥150 per bag. We did not but any, just tried to be invincible to the deer and avoid being chased heheheh
As we came here without research, we didn’t know what to expect of Todaiji Temple. Worse, we only explored the outer area of the temple without knowing there are many other buildings within the grounds. That’s because even the outer area itself was already massive. We passed the Nandaimon Gate guarded with two huge fierce looking wooden statues aka Nio Guardian Kings. Apparently these statues with the gate itself are designated national treasures. Then we walked along the pathway and spotted the museum which was closed then. I have no idea why we could have missed going inside the Big Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden), considering this is the world’s largest wooden building and that is despite it is now only two third of its original temple hall’s size.
We then walked back to the Nara Kintetsu station for the arcade just next to it. Filled with many restaurants and shops with Nara’s deer-themed souvenirs, it’s somewhat a consolation over what we just missed out. From there, we walked to JR Nara which from memory was a bit of walking over many blocks of buildings.
And here we are back to Osaka, got off at Tennoji station to walk to Tsutenkaku. We walked past Keitakuen Garden and Osaka Tennoji Zoo before getting to Tsutenkaku, where we also had lunch at. Next destination was Den den Town, the well known geek culture and electronic district of Osaka. We walked in to few stores as hubby was looking for some action figures to add to his collection. As we were heading back to the AirBnb, we also passed Kuromon Market, which is an absolute must visit for foodies! The fresh seafood and varieties of food were so overwhelming, I’d absolutely love to go back here again.
We rested a while at the AirBnb before went back to Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street for some window shopping. Then back to Dotonbori again for dinner and that wraps up our day 6 🙂
What we ate on Day 6
Before we went to Japan, we always said how those roasted sweet potatoes that you see in Japanese comic books or manga looks so yummy and that we will have to try these. But ever since we arrived in Kansai airport, we have not seen one of these at all anywhere we went. Finally spotted one street vendor near Nara Park and we just had to get this. It tasted really tender and sweet, perfect for cold days and one more thing to tick off of our list.
We had our lunch in Shinsekai district, near Tsutenkaku and there were so many kushikatsu restaurants. Since we had tried Ganso Daruma at Dotonbori branch last night, we decided to try somewhere else for comparison. After considerable browsing, we decided to try Yokozuna Tsutenkaku mainly for its stand-out food display. Instead of getting the set menu kushikatsu, we picked ones we wanted to try. They tasted pretty good and on par with the ones we tried last night, maybe served slightly less hot. We also tried okonomiyaki and that was not great but not bad either. The stew, we think Ganso Daruma’s one tasted better. While we were there, a table of four students ordered a massive plates of takoyaki and looked really good – I would have done that too if not for saving my stomach space for something else later 😅
These were what we got at Kuromon Market. We got to try the sashimi sushi which were devine – the sashimi was so fresh and smooth, they practically melt in your mouth. In the same shop we also got the sliced melon and this too is delicious, super juicy and sweet.
Then we noticed this grilled scallops and decided to join the queue. Did you notice the size of those scallops? The meat was fresh, plump and tender – so good!
At Dotonbori, we finally got to try this charcoal grilled crab. We noticed this stall yesterday but it was too crowded and today at least it has not been that busy yet. This huge piece of crab leg did not come cheap, but considering the size and it was meaty and sweet, is well worth it.
Originally we planned to try the famous okonomiyaki at Mizuno but once we found the place and saw how long the queue was, we went to its neighbour instead, Kyo Chabana Dotonbori. The restaurant was about three quarter full when we got there and we ordered groza, okonomiyaki and yakisoba. Everything we ordered was a delight, loved them all. It was fun too watching the chef prepared the food, the service was great and we had a good time here. We were glad that we did not wait over one hour for a similar meal next door!
Lastly, some dessert to finish off today: Pablo mini matcha tart and Purin from 7 Eleven. We tried the Original Pablo few days ago and this time we tried the mini tart version. We love the mini tart better, the crust is thicker and more crumbly than the original one; which is my favourite crust texture. And we also got purin from a nearby 7 Eleven, and that was yummy – the slight bitterness of caramel is a great contrast to the sweetness of that smooth custard flan. Do anyone else amazed with Japanese convenience stores? 🙂