Osaka & Nara, Japan
This trip to Japan happened in early 2015. After much coercing from Bee, I’ve finally gotten around to sharing it… along with all its inaccuracies as I curate my own take on the countries we visit.
As cramped as airplane seats and cabins go, it is the anticipation of arrival at your destination that keeps your spirits high.
Bee and I love our holidays. And we live pretty frugally in Melbourne now just so our annual holiday budget can stretch that little bit farther. I mean… just look at this magnificent sight from the airplane window, drawing you into a world… endless with possibilities and things that you can experience.
Aside from a very brief stopover in Tokyo Disneyland as a young child… (I remember it snowed at Narita airport!), this city view of Osaka is my first impression of Japan as a grown up.
Clean, orderly and… oddly enough, with an European feel I thought.
Day 1 in Japan… I was half expecting to see Totoro standing at a stop light with a neighbourly yawn, or walking past a boy carrying a glass jar containing Ponyo… such was how my vision of Japan is shaped by the anime I’d watched.
And focal to several Japanese films, in particular those of the introspective ilk, were train journeys…
That quiet wait at the station, deep in thought… as you processed towards that metaphorical destination that’s significant only to you.
But let us pull away from that movie in our minds. For us visitors, our train journey eventuated as a day trip to Nara Park…
… famed for its even-tempered, free roaming deer. If you bought a pack of deer wafers to feed them, they’d follow you around with their short tails wiggling in expectancy.
Todaiji Temple, Nara
A sight not to be missed at Nara would be Todaiji Temple, built in 752, it’s the largest wooden building in the world.
On that note, the in-laws were hitting it off famously…
This trip would be the first time my folks met Bee’s mom, and they got along very well!
Misono Teppanyaki, Osaka
On our first night together as a family, we treated ourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime Kobe beef teppanyaki dinner.
That wagyu melted in your mouth like it was butter, it almost laughs Australian wagyu into ‘beef jerky’ territory… LMAO. All that said, I confess I prefer a bit more texture and less oil in my beef… this fat-rich meal literally had us sliding back to our hotel.
Bee’s meticulously planned itinerary afforded us a bit of time in Osaka before we headed off to Mount Koya in the afternoon.
So we explored Osaka further…
LOVE the unexplainable sense of personal order in what should’ve otherwise been a haphazard streetscape here.
Kuromon Ichiba Market – Namba, Osaka
Lunch happened in a neighbourhood market that’s over 170 years old. You could call it Osaka’s Kitchen, where restaurant owners come to buy their fresh ingredients in bulk.
We finally picked a tucked away shop that could fit the five of us, where we had our first encounter with nattō… a sticky-stringy concoction of fermented soy beans that’s traditionally eaten with rice and miso soup for breakfast in the Japanese countryside. An acquired taste if I might add…
I choose to end this post with a beginning… where we embark on our train journey towards Koyasan, ensconced in an immaculate carriage of hushed order.
Travel in Japan has cultivated a deeper appreciation of train journeys in me… and we will be experiencing a lot more of that in this trip. Hope to see you in our next instalment!