Trip to Kansai, Japan: Kobe and Nara (Part 1 – Things to Do)

The second leg of our journey was spent on a couple of half day trips. From our home base of Osaka we went to Kobe and Nara. I am putting them together into one post because they aren’t quite as extensive trips as Osaka.

Kobe

Kobe is world renown for its beef, but it is also a cute city to visit for a casual day. It was a great reprieve from the busy schedule of the first two days we had in Japan. I will talk about the glory that is Kobe beef in a separate post, but here are the things we did in Kobe.

  1. Chinatown
    C360_2015-07-15-16-33-29-137Located in the center of the city, we visited Chinatown after eating lunch, which wasn’t necessary. There are so many places to eat here that it would make for a better snack-and-go place with dinner being dedicated to the beef. Since it is smaller than expected, we traversed the whole place within an hour and quickly moved on. Here is a map:
    C360_2015-07-15-16-34-23-533
    And some photos I snapped along the way:C360_2015-07-15-16-45-51-049
    C360_2015-07-15-16-33-48-782
    C360_2015-07-15-16-38-46-902
  2. Starbucks House
    Moving on from Chinatown, we walked over to the Starbucks that is in an old Western-styled house. It was nice and a refreshing place to go with all the hot humidity.
    C360_2015-07-15-17-57-52-376

Nara

Nara was more my style which its rich history and cultural attractions. We spent the entire day here and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  1. Deer Park
    When you get off the station at Nara and surface from the subway it is no exaggeration to say one of the first things you will see are deer. They are EVERYWHERE. Inside the park, outside the park, in the temple, simply everywhere. The town itself looks so small, it made me wonder if there weren’t more deer than people in this town.
    C360_2015-07-14-11-27-01-517 C360_2015-07-14-11-01-32-627 C360_2015-07-14-11-01-40-868
    You can buy little biscuits to feed them, but these little guys do come with a word of warning or two. Apparently deer are vicious and should not be trusted despite their cute exterior.C360_2015-07-14-11-06-47-769
  2. Todaijidera (Todaiji Temple)
    Now we come to what I really enjoy: temples. As I mentioned in a previous post, Japan was a Shinto religious culture before Buddhism was introduced and instead of simply replacing them, the country merged elements together. So while”dera” refers to a Buddhist temple in Japanese, and “jinja” refers to a Shinto one, you will see elements of both on your way up to see Todaijidera.
    C360_2015-07-14-11-42-21-115 C360_2015-07-14-11-51-35-905 C360_2015-07-14-11-54-54-591 C360_2015-07-14-11-57-31-980 C360_2015-07-14-12-05-50-736Once inside the temple, you will see a pillar with a small hole in it. It is said that if you go through this hole then your wish will come true.
    C360_2015-07-14-12-07-32-458Depending on how you track to and fro the temple, you will come to quite a few other shrines and pagoda along the way:
    C360_2015-07-14-13-55-52-603 C360_2015-07-14-13-15-27-908 C360_2015-07-14-13-20-08-596 C360_2015-07-14-13-28-14-644
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