Osaka & Nara

By train from Hiroshima, I arrived in Osaka, Japan’s third largest city. I usually go at noon to get to the hostel in the afternoon or late at night, and this time was no different.

My hostel was close to Dotonbori, one of the most popular areas of the city. It is full of shops and restaurants illuminated by numerous signboards where the Glico Runner is the most famous. Walking at night through the canal is a great view. Osaka is also known for the quality and the quantity of the food. There were plenty of restaurants to choose from, I chose some sushi dinner, because despite of being in Japan it was not easy to find a decent sushi restaurant until I got to Osaka.

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The next day, time to visit the city. Walking all day around the city, but not much to see, rather than high buildings and some shrines. On the way, you could find some sanctuaries, but none stand out, except Osaka Castle noted for its greatness and it’s worth a walk around its gardens and surrounding area.

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On the second day, it was time to visit Nara, traditional city which is about 30 minutes by train from Osaka and where the main attraction is the park where hundreds of deer live.

Once in Nara, and on the way to the main park, you have the opportunity to visit the main street where there are plenty of traditional shops, both food and objects. It caught my attention, one place where they made one of the typical Japanese dessert, Wagashi. To make the paste that composes it, few men are crushing and beating it to reach his point. It is a real spectacle, as it can be seen in the following video.

Once in the park, the first thing to see and as expected, are the deer. It is worth to see how people visiting the park, among whom I include myself, stares and feeding deer at the beginning thinking there will be just few to see without knowing that there will be plenty of them as long as you walk. They will be waiting to receive those cookies that they sell you all the way to feed them. Amazing, they are everywhere. If they see you coming with nothing in your hand they will not put any attention, but if they see that you get a cookie they will come crazy to you to have one. Even some will invest you to receive some, so take care, they are wild animals. In fact, in my presence, I saw a Japanese child of around two years old giving a cookie to one of them, and after the kid gave it and was clapping of happiness, the deer invested him by surprise throwing a pair of meters behind. Nothing happened, but surely that child will take some time to approach a deer again.

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The park is huge, so it takes several hours to cross it, probably longer than planned as it was in my case. So after cross it and take a walk around the station, I went back to Osaka to have a walk again around Dotonbori, because the next day I would head to Kyoto.

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