Japan Diaries 3: Day 3

Day 3 December 21, 2019

Exploring Nara

Good morning guys! Today is the 3rd day of our 2019 Japan Adventure. For today's itinerary, we're off to explore Nara City in Nara Prefecture. 

Off to Nara!

Waiting for our train to Nara Station

The train was slow and crowded thank God we managed to get a seat.

Since Nara City is about 40+ kilometers away, we woke up early to catch the earliest train we could going to Nara Station. This is to avoid joining the potential influx of tourists heading to Nara City on this beautiful Saturday morning.  

We got a tip from the train operator on board. She said we should board down at Uji and transfer to the much faster express train...

All aboard at Kintetsu Limited Express to Nara Station

There was plenty of room on the train for me to pose and get that souvenir photo.

From our Air BnB residence, we walked for about three minutes to Kyoto Station and bought tickets to Nara Station. A ticket costs 720 yen per adult and 360 yen for a child. The travel time is around 46 minutes. 

Welcome to Nara!

Christmas feels in JR Nara Station

Nara Tourist Information Center

Inside Nara Tourist Information Center

Mom and KC with Shikamaru-kun

Upon arrival at Nara Station, we didn't miss out on the chance to take photos with the mascot of Nara and the Welcome to Nara standee. From the station, we first visited the nearby Nara Tourist Information Center to ask for a city map that they give for free. I also got some tips and itineraries for a one-day walking tour of the city from its friendly tourist information officer. 

Followed the recommended walking tour of Nara City

Mom's wacky moments

Check out Nara City's manhole cover design

We followed the said tips and walked towards our first stop for today, which was the Nakatanidou Mochi Shop. It's famous not only for its freshly made delicious yomogi mochi but also because it is home to Mitsuo Nakatani, also known as Mochi Man. He is dubbed as the World's Fastest Mochi Maker

Mochiman in action
First stop: To watch Mitsuo Nakatani - Mochiman in action

Availed of a pack of 6 mochis for 900 yen

Aya doing the taste test

Watching him and his staff performs the traditional mochitsuki pounding method is a spectacle one has to see when visiting Nara City. Of course, we didn't just settle seeing Mochi Man pound mochi, we also bought his work of art. A box of six yomogi mochi costs 900 yen. 

Walking up the stairs to our next destination - Kohfukuji

Kohfukuji's chozuya

The Nan'endo

Kohfukuji and its 5-story pagoda

Fun times in Kohfukuji

Nan'endo (Kohfukuji) goshuin

From there, we walked to Kohfukuji. It is one of the eight places registered as Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I did not miss the chance to get a goshuin and visit the Chinese-looking Nan'endo and the five-story pagoda on its grounds. 

Back to Mochiidonocho

Ordered some takoyaki for lunch

Waiting for our bento meal from OKest Fresh Mart

Since hunger is starting to kick in, we walked back to Mochiidonocho which was an alleyway near Nakatanidou Mochi Shop to look for a place to eat lunch. We ended up buying and eating bento meals at OKest Fresh Mart and some Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki from the stall near it.  

Off to Nara Park after lunch

Walking through Naramachi Odori Street

Passed through St. Raphael Chapel

We saw Ara Pond along the way

Checking out Ara Pond

Finally - Nara Park

Having fun with the deer

Let's have a selfie, deer.

Check out this short clip of the uber-cute bowing deer.

After lunch, we walked to Nara Park which was about 20 minutes away on foot. We passed through Naramachi Odori Street until we reached St. Raphael Chapel at Takabatakecho. From there, we followed the road in the middle of Ara Pond until we reached Nara Park where we got to feed the deer and had fun taking pictures with them.

Going through Todaiji's Nandaimon


Groupie before going in the temple

Mom and dad their moments

We didn't stay long though as I still wanted to bring my parents and siblings to Todaiji Temple. For those who don't know, Todaiji is the largest wooden structure in the world today. Like my wife and me during our first visit, my parents and siblings were also amazed by the grandeur of the temple and the Daibutsuden that it houses. 

Go, Ella!


The fun part of this visit was the crawl through the hole (Buddha's Nostril) in one of the pillars inside the temple. My daughter and I successfully crawled through it during our first visit almost half a decade ago. This time, I wanted everyone in the family to try it out for fun (including my wife who's too scared to do it during our first visit). Naturally, my mom and dad declined so my daughter showed us how it's done, and like before she accomplished it with ease - twice. My siblings and I followed and succeeded. Now the highlight of this was my wife who felt exultant after she successfully conquered Buddha's Nostril. Before leaving, I made sure to get a goshuin of Todaiji for my collection. 
Dinner at Sukiya

Waiting for our meal.

It seems like mom and dad enjoyed their dinner.

From the Todaiji, we walked back to JR Nara Station which was about 2 kilometers away. Since it was quite far and it was getting dark already, we decided to eat dinner first at Sukiya (Gyudon Restaurant) in front of Kintetsu Nara Station which was halfway to JR Nara Station. 

Back to JR Nara Station

Lead the way, mom!

We reached JR Nara Station at around 7PM. We had a few pictures with its nicely decorated steps before continuing on our way. Once we reached Kyoto, we walked back to our Air BnB residence which then pretty much wrapped up our 3rd day in Japan. 

Good night everyone!

Overall, we had a very memorable time in Nara City. It was nice seeing my parents and siblings interact with the Sika deer. This made me more excited to see what other things we'd see or revisit on our 4th day in Japan. 

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  1. Wow Japan is rich in history, I will surely visit there one day

  2. Wow Nara looks so amazing. We didnt have the time to visit Nara when we were in Japan. This virtual tour makes me wanna visit it too lol

    1. These are just snap shots of a larger more colorful adventure in Nara. You should come visit to experience this place for yourself.

  3. That was so nice then when there was still no fear of covid-19. Things are so ugly now. Let's hope everyone will get back to their normal businesses sooner

    1. I agree with you. This trip was just last December.

  4. I have never been to Japan but these pictures look lovely.

  5. hi
    Nara city looks super awesome, especially the mascot Nara. The manhole cover design was so thoughtful of them.Todaji temples looked terrific and did not know that it was the largest wooden structure in the world. You had a fantastic visit it looks like

    1. That made Nara one of the best places to visit in Kansai region.

  6. Glad that you enjoyed Nara. My favorite part is Heijo Palace. It is a huge park with lots of history.

    1. Oh I haven't added that place in my list yet. I will visit that place someday.

  7. A nice Japan trip you had with your lovely family members, I didnt covered Nara in my last Japan trip, will include in my next Japan trip. cheers. siennylovesdrawing

    1. You should. You would definitely love Nara City. :)

  8. You pretty seemed to really enjoy your visit in Japan. And keeping this blog is one way of keeping the memories stored with you family.

    1. That's true Franze. This blog started out as a personal diary until it gained a following. :)

  9. I desperately would love to visit Japan one day!

  10. Awww... Seems like you guys had tons of fun! I suddenly miss Nara Deer Park. Those vicious creatures though, I bought a plastic bag full of treats and they chased after me. One brave deer even attempted to pull the whole bag from me. I tried to 'bow' - some were obedient, some weren't. I even spoke with them in Japanese, English... Binisaya ko din but nope. I still gave them food anyway.

    I super like the pictures you posted here specially the selfie with the deer. I attempted a few times but... Ugh! Vile creatures! 😂

    Wait! Those guys in costumes... Do they work there or guests?!

    Bakit parang ang struggle mo sa Buddha's Nostril? Hahaha! May kasabay ako, actually after ko maka-alis. The dude got stuck and cause siya ng delay. Then may nag-offer na hilahin siya. 😂 I'm not kidding. 😂

    1. Hahaha. Yan ang gusto ko sa Nara Park. Pagmay treats ka feeling mo sikat ka dahil dinudumog ka. Kaso nga lang like everything else pag ubos na ang foods laos ka na.

      Sa Todaiji naman mukhang tumaba na ako hahaha. Last time I just wiggled my way out dito todo hila ako palabas. Hahahaha

  11. That dinner looked SO GOOD! Japan has always been a dream to visit

    1. I agree with you. Take note, even if you visit, it would still be a dream place to visit.

  12. I have never been to japan before but it looks wonderful and the food looks nice too!

  13. This looks like such a nice trip to take! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You're welcome. Please do visit Nara City too when you have the chance. :)

  14. Nara...I think we passed by that city in Japan. But I am excited to come back if time and covid permits

  15. Wow! Nara is so beautiful. I missed to visit this city when I was in Japan. Perhaps next time.

    1. I fo hope the Pandemic ends already. I'm really hoping to go back to Japan.

  16. Japan has been on my bucket list for some time, you're photo's really make me want to visit!

  17. Ang saya naman nakaka-gala kayo ng husto last year! Recently, Japan Tourism Agency is proposing to shoulder partly of the domestic travel expenses (max of $185 per person). If Nara is cheap to travel, pwede na!

    1. Hehe bonaei rin nila un. Fake News raw at natake out of context. :)

  18. Nara was one of my favorite stops when I went to Japan. And it seems like you had a blast too!


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