Friday, December 2, 2016

Arrival in Nara.

Rising like a Gozilla enemy (or friend) in the background, this giant female buddha appeared behind a train station as we rolled from Toyoma towards Kyoto and then eventually Nara.

The train was fast up through Kyoto, but the last leg, towards Nara, was a local with many stops, though the distance was not far.

It was good to get out of the train to stretch our legs by the end of the journey.

At first view, Nara seems made for tourists, at least if you land in the main section just before Nara Park, with a souvenir and food-shop lined street leading up to the biscuit-eating deer and impressive monuments.

This is the fabled five-story pagoda.

The sun sets early in late autumn, this time around 4:30pm.

Restaurant and tea house.

"Hair create!" Sounds...intriguing.
Love them daikon.
Narazuke (pickled daikon mixed with sake and shoyu), a local specialty.
Main covered mall, brightly-lit, ready for tourists, with a McDonald's in the mix.
Tea ceremony ware in a local antique shop.
McDonald's cats.
Rhythm Cat!

"What is daruma?" you may ask? Well, here is the answer.
The second part of the pedestrian mall, still dotted with a small hotel or two, but much more locals-oriented, with plastic surgeons, dentists, a pachinko parlor, and other shops and places to be curious over.
The pachinko parlor.
The neighborhood Roman Catholic church, ready for Christmas.

 Jidohanbaiki lit at night.
Moomin display. This Finnish creation became a popular animated series in Japan.
Mushroom lantern.
Yet another trendy place to get your hair and makeup sorted out.

We only caught an initial glimpse of Nara this evening, but its smaller scale is easy to navigate. Tomorrow, on to the major monuments - big buddha first.

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