Osaka was our next stop on our journey, but before we explored Osaka we made a quick stop over in Nara to visit the 15 metre tall Vairocana Buddha and the most incredibly cute wild deer that roam throughout the little town.
As soon as we hopped off the bus we were surrounded by wild deer running around, throughout the town and the grounds that surround the Todai-ji. You can pick up what we playfully now call “Deer Crack” from vendors for ¥100. Unfortunately no one informed us that you have to hide the biscuits when you buy them and we learnt the hard way by having packs of deer nip, bite, headbutt and chase us until we had given up the goods and run away from the deer that were chasing us for their next hit.
A kind old Japanese man did come over to us and showed us how to feed them. We were both dumbfounded when he explained that the deer will bow for their food, I was convinced this guy was crazy until he showed us. I must have looked like I had been stunned as I watched these deer bow as the biscuits are held above their head, and then once the deer has bowed he handed over the small piece of biscuit to eat.
Once my love and I had learnt how to feed the deer we bought another packet of biscuits and tried it out for ourselves and it worked! It is quiet possibly the cutest thing in the whole entire world to see, even the baby deers bow for their food!
After the excitement of feeding the deer we headed over to the Todai-ji. The building that houses this very old and large Buddha is made of entirely wood and is approximately 300 years old itself. It is exquisitely carved and constructed and like all Japanese places of worship the grounds are immaculately kept.
Our time in Osaka was sadly short two days and our main reason for stopping there was to head over to see Universal Studios. If anyone is heading to Universal Studios (or any theme park in Japan) I would advise buying the express pass. It organises your day and plans what rides for you to go on at a certain time. If you don’t have this pass you will be in lines for over 2 hours.
The last place to visit on our trip before we spent a week in Tokyo was Hiroshima.
Just before exploring Hiroshima we took a ferry across to Itsukushima to spend the day. This place is commonly know as Miyajima, which is actually the Torii gate and shrine at the entrance to the island. We walked through out the main part of the island waiting for the light to change to capture some beautiful shots of Miyajima in the late afternoon light.
I am not sure what to write about Hiroshima… it was peaceful, beautiful and heartbreaking all in one, I think this is the only way I can explain what I felt there. Even though the city is many centuries old, it is only physically 70 years old. In 1945 the A-Bomb completely destroyed the city, killing and destroying the lives of all of it residents. But in the Japanese way, they did not leave or relocate the city, they rebuilt their lives there. They saved and memorialised the exhibition hall that was the centre of the bomb and built a beautiful peace memorial park that surrounds the structure. Around the city there are small statues of Sadako Sadaki and surrounding her feet are small paper cranes that residents and visitors make to honour her and all the children that suffered from this horror.
Before we went to the Peace Memorial we stumbled across a small Japanese Garden called Shukkeien Garden. This garden had the biggest and feistiest Koi fish around. You could drop a couple of pellets of fish food into the water and they would go crazy for it, swimming and wriggling all over each other to get the food.
The following morning we boarded a Shinkansen headed for Tokyo, where we would spend our final 7 days in Japan.
On our way to Osaka & Nara
All Images Copyrighted to Nina Dos Santos ©