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Nara — Finding Bambi

Nara, Kofukuji, Big Buddha (Todaji Temple)

Today we frolicked with Bambi. Well sort of. We went to Nara this morning. Unfortunately it was pouring!! We bought plastic ponchos to survive the torrential rains and braved the walk. The JR station is about a 15 min walk to Kofukuji. If you have any questions, the tourist center near this station is SUPER helpful and actually mapped out a walking tour for us.

We made it to the Kofukuji temple and stayed in a shop for a little bit to avoid being blown away and then admired the 5 storied pagoda before going on a journey to find all the deer.
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Walking towards Todaji temple, we stumbled across loads of deer near the national museum and even watched a line of them wait for a green light to cross the road. Both so incredible and so sad that we have polluted the deer with our technology. We proceeded to follow them around and take pictures with them. The deer were looking for biscuits which aren’t sold near where we were so they nibbled on someone’s poncho before realizing we had no food.
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After enjoying those deer, we continued onto Todaji Temple to go pay our respects to Big Buddha. Right before you enter this temple the street is scattered with deer biscuit vendors (150 Yen) and scattered with tourists taking pictures with the deer and also running from their hangry aggressiveness for these biscuits. I decided to try it out and got ambushed immediately (What’s in these things??). I tried throwing a few far away from me to deflect them so we could take pics in a nice area but it didn’t work...so I gave them to my friend and she doled all but the last one out. What a relief to throw my hands up and tell the deer “no more!!”
Feeding but terrified
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Omg please I’m done
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We then went into Todaji temple to see the Big Buddha. This temple provides tour guides in different languages for free so we joined an English one. It was super helpful and taught us a lot about the history and the stories behind the temple. The Buddha originally had been covered in gold but this didn’t survive a fire. The head was also made larger and disproportionate to the body after the original had burned. This bigger head is easier for people to see Big Buddha’s head from the front window which is only open 6 days out of the year (2x for 3 days; one is during New Years). There was also a wooden pillar with a hole carved in it that is the size of the Buddha’s nostril. If you squirm through it, it is supposed to make you smarter....they forced this poor kid in front of his class to do it and he got stuck but he was still a good sport about it. We left the Buddha and found this section of Nara park that was COVERED with cherry blossoms and deer. It was otherworldly...I felt like I was in a movie or painting. There also weren’t a lot of tourists around so we were able to enjoy the views and nature.
Todaji
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Having walked quite a bit and feeling the sogginess and cold of our shoes, we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick change of shoes.
Before leaving Nara thoiugh, we decided to get some warm soup and stopped by Mentouan. They are known for this tofu skin pouch covering udon noodles. Tamara got that and I got Cupido which is a heart shaped tofu skin. The udon really hit the spot and the noodles were the perfect chewiness. The tofu skin is however slightly on the sweet side but cant complain given the delicious broth and warmth.
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We then decided to fully enjoy the night time illuminations and went to Nijo Castle at night. It was awesome to see the castle gardens lit up and wander with less people around. I really enjoyed seeing the castle in a different light and the Sakura lit up against it. There was also a projection on one of the castle doors that was brief but entertaining. Japan really knows how to use their light shows!! We need more of these in the states.
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After instagramming thoroughly, we headed to CoCo Ichibanya near Kyoto station. I had this the last time I was in Tokyo but it was even better than I remembered. I got the tonkatsu curry but added corn...mmmmm. It was delicious but I wish I had remembered to ask for a little more spice level. I also tried a curry potato croquette that was good but not worth getting.
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Posted by E.M.N 07:17 Archived in Japan Tagged nara

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