Japan: Nara

With the long weekend finally over, we thought it would be a good time to head out to Nara and the famous deer park. A 45-minute train ride later we emerged from Kintetsu-Nara station to realise that it made no difference to crowd levels as the Chinese tour groups were there in force.

The attraction of Nara Park is the local deer population that wanders freely amongst the people and bows for crackers that can be bought for 200 yen (50 baht). There was no entrance fee to the park which also housed some impressive Japanese temples and shrines.

The first rain of our trip started to fall by midday as foretold by the weather app and skies were darkening so we decided not to hike further into the park and head back to the city.

I’d been mulling a camera upgrade since prices in Japan were much cheaper than in Thailand and tourists get a tax discount. On return to Osaka that wet afternoon I pulled the trigger on a Nikon Z50 mirrorless to replace my heavy and ageing but very reliable D7200. The saving was a considerable 30% less than the identical kit in Thailand.

Da had researched a local pork cutlet restaurant where a former Sumo wrestler turned chef prepared big-sized cutlets with special sauce. Naturally, there was still a queue despite the rain since the tiny venue only sat ten people.

Queuing to get into a restaurant in Japan is the norm, the more popular the venue, the longer the queue. Being a nation that operates on strict punctuality, the Japanese also eat at set times which is why many restaurants only open for a couple of hours at these times. We learned to avoid them and eat ‘off-peak’ to avoid the queues.

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Next: Osaka Part 2