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Day 2: Nara + Osaka

The first stop for today was Nara Park, it’s about 1.5hrs on train from Osaka. I am so excited to finally be able to meet this famous “bowing” deers! But first, grabbing breakfast from Lawson since it's gonna be a long ride, and you can actually eat and drink in Japan's trains!

#1: The Lawson store near my Airbnb.

#2: Egg Salad Sandwich and coffee ☕️❤️

Nara Park houses 1,200 wild sika deers, who were once considered sacred due to a visit from Takemikazuchi-no-Mikoto, one of the four Gods of Kasuga Shrine, seen riding a white deer; and killing one is a death punishment. However after World War 2, their sacred status was stripped and they are protected and considered as national treasures instead. At the park, you can purchase deer crackers at ¥200 for 10pcs to feed them! It was so fun and actually, not all of them wants the crackers. As it is so affordable, almost everybody bought it and were feeding the deers, so you can imagine some not being so enthusiastic about these crackers. Since they are wild animals, they can be aggressive if they feel threatened, so visitors are advised to not tease them with the crackers. Also, since they are wild animals, you can find their poop all around the park, so don’t wear your favourite shoes if you mind it.

Nara Park 奈良公園

Open 24hrs (daily)

#3: Deer feeding at Nara Park.

#4: You can get deer crackers to feed them! And feed the deers with ONLY deer crackers!

#5: Get the crackers from one of these carts, there are a few around.

#6: A gentle note before feeding the deers.

#7: They look so happy with the crackers!

#8: 🦌❤️

#9: 🦌❤️

#10: 🦌❤️

#11: 🦌❤️

#12: 🦌❤️

#13: This spot was one of the nicest place to take photos of the deers, just look at those beautiful red leaves and that cute little deer.

#14: 😍

#15: This is taken outside Todaiji Temple.

#16: A must-take feet photo for me for every trip! One with the fallen leaves for this autumn trip.

#17: Trying out Bikkle, a type of yogurt drink.

Very near to the park is Todaiji Temple, founded in 738 by Emperor Shomu as a symbol of imperial power and it took 15yrs to complete, and was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples of Nara. It is the world's largest wooden building, and its Great Buddha Hall houses the world's largest bronze statue of Buddha Vairocana (大日如來). It serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism, and is now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. I initially wanted to explore the place, but seeing that it is packed with people, and requires an admission fee, I decided to just take a photo from outside. There are lots of street food and souvenir stores right outside the temple. I wanted to get a Nara souvenir, but it’s all kind of expensive, if not snacks with deer designs, nothing really unique. Then I saw a collar pin capsule machine outside one of these stores at ¥200/capsule, and one of it is a deer pin with “Nara” written on it. I gave it a try and I was so lucky, I got the Nara pin! Yay, an unique (because most of the time it’s either magnet or keychain) yet affordable souvenir!

Todaiji Temple 東大寺

0800-1700hrs (daily)

Admission: ¥600

#18: Entrance to Todaiji Temple.

#19: Todaiji Temple.

#20: My Nara souvenir, it's a collar pin.

Next, I went over to the Higashimuki Shopping Street. Didn’t really shop much here, but I was really excited to visit Nakatanidou, the place that is famous for its high speed mochi pounding process! Mochi is made by pounding cooked glutinous rice into a paste. Their signature green mochi is made with mugwort added, with a nice red bean filling, and is coated with kinako (soybean) powder on the outside. The mochi was really soft and chewy, and the filling wasn’t too sweet! ...And that’s it for Nara, it’s about 1330hrs and heading back to Osaka!

Higashimuki Shopping Street 東向商店街

Nakatanidou 中谷堂 Address

1000-1900hrs (daily)

#21: Nakatanidou.

#22: Taken from Nakatanidou website.

#23: The famous high-speed mochi pounding!

Back to Osaka... I planned to have lunch at Kushiya Monogatari, a kushikatsu buffet, but it was already closed for lunch by the time I reached, around 1500hrs. So I went to Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan instead, which was nearby, and then Ippudo Ramen. Abeno’s takoyaki is made with true Osaka taste according to the Osaka people. It is made with a batter that is simmered for 4hrs! The takoyakis are super crispy on the outside, but remains soft and oozy inside, and it is topped with a sweet sauce instead of the usual tangy takoyaki sauce. Next, a proper meal at Ippudo Ramen. I first tried Ippudo in KL and it was so good, though the broth was kind of salty and for this I prefer Ichiran more as it’s customisable. I had the Akamura Special, which has additional spicy miso and black garlic oil!

Abeno Takoyaki Yamachan あべのたこ焼きやまちゃん

1130-2130hrs (Tue-Sun)

#24: Takoyaki with sweet sauce and seaweed.

Ippudo Ramen 一風堂 Namba Store Address

1100-0200hrs (daily)

#25: Akamura Special - with spicy miso and black garlic oil.

After which, I head to Dotonbori again as the sun was about to set - sun sets at 1650hrs - to take a ride on Don Quijote’s (or Don Don Donki) iconic yellow ferris wheel (called Ebisu Tower) and see the sun set, and omg... what a waste of my time! It was moving sooooo slowly and there was really nothing much to see! The capsule was also rather stuffy, and with the thick sweater on because of the cold weather, I already couldn’t wait for the ride to end! 😂 Shop a little around the store after the ride, but was also kind of difficult as it was quite crowded and the store wasn’t that spacious.

Ebisu Tower ドンキホーテえびすタワー Address

1100-2300hrs (daily)

Ride: ¥600

#26: Dotonbori River featuring Ebisu Tower.

#27: Saw these at Don Quijote - Okinawa brown sugar and strawberry peach flavour.

#28: Some of the must-buy Osaka souvenir-snacks.

#29: The symbol/icon/mascot of Dotonbori, Kuidaore Taro.

Lastly, I head over to Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake to get their famous jiggly cheesecake! The queue was quite long, but it moves rather quickly. The cheesecake is really soft and airy, and kind of just melts in your mouth! The texture is quite similar to souffle pancakes, but this has cream cheese added to it. The bottom of the cake is lined with some raisins, which helped to cut through the richness of the cheese. The cake looks huge, but a lot of air is actually incorporated in it to build the volume, so it’s a really nice light snack to enjoy. I finished the whole cake in 15mins!

Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake アンクルリクローチーズケーキ

0930-2130hrs (daily)

#30: Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake.

#31: The popular jiggly cheesecake!



Exchange Rate = SG$1 : ¥79.30

Day 2 Expenses Family Mart: - Egg Salad Sandwich ¥200 - Coffee ¥130 Vending Machine, Bikkle: ¥130 Deer Crackers: ¥200 (10pcs) Nara Capsule Souvenir Pin: ¥200 Nara Gurutto Bus: ¥100 Nakatanidou: Yomogi Mochi ¥150 Abeno: Takoyaki ¥560 (8pcs) Ippudo Ramen: Akamaru Special ¥1,060 (after tax ¥1,166) Vending Machine, Peach-flavoured Water: ¥150 Don Quijote Ferris Wheel Ride: ¥600 Don Quijote: - Kit Kat Hojicha ¥298 (12pkts) - Kit Kat Caramel Pudding ¥268 (12pkts) - Dars Dark Chocolate ¥108 - Pringles Takoyaki ¥600 (3 cans) Osaka Magnet: ¥440 Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake: ¥725 TOTAL: ¥6,027 = SG$76

Previous Expenses: SG$1,857.35

Current Total Expenses: SG$1,933.35

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