Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nara, Japan 05'10'2014

I had always known about Nara Park. Given that Fushimi Inari was just a few stations (OK maybe not a few) away from Nara Station and to Nara Park, this was the easiest place to get to before heading back to Osaka.

We were tired from climbing Fushimi Inari, very very tired, good thing there were very few people in the train and the ride was long, we got to take a nap, and rest before hours of walking again.

Sign going to Nara Park.
Upon getting out of the train, there were already signs on how to get to Nara Park and how long it will take to get there, convenient!

Some girls offering prayers to Lord Buddha?
Five Story Pagoda
Five Story Pagoda up close.
The first part of Nara Park we got see was the Kofuku-ji temple complex. We weren't really expecting to see anything in Nara Park aside from... well the usual park stuff like gardens and trees. But then we realised that Nara Park is composed of many stuff like temples, museums, shops, etc. We were exited to explore some more!

We were in awe of the buildings especially the Five Story Pagoda pictured above. It is so much larger than what my picture suggests. I wish I could capture its beauty but I believe I did not do it justice.

After walking a bit further we finally saw what Nara Park was famous for...

Portrait of a deer.
Deer resting in front of the Nara National Museum.
A very funny warning sign about deer behavior.
Feeding the deer.
Deer Portrait.
Free roaming deer. The one thing Nara Park is truly known for. The deer are considered sacred because of it's affiliation with a God in Shinto.

They are very cute and are not shy of humans. They WILL approach you if they think you have food and they will even hound you like dogs if they are hungry enough. Still, they are sacred.

My friend was actually carrying a plastic bag filled with trash from our lunch because we couldn't throw it away, there is NO trash bin in the entire park! Anyway, a deer smelled the plastic bag and proceeded to actually snatch the said bag from her hand. My friend was screaming and screaming in fear! But still, I thought it was cute.

Walking a bit further we rested in a field and then I saw something beyond the trees on the hills...

A field in Nara Park with Mount Wakakusa in the back.
I had my glasses on so I could see very clearly. And when we were resting on the field I saw some people on the top of the hill beyond the trees.

I was very curious about what they were doing there and I thought that there must be a nice view up there. So my friend and I walked a bit closer and learned that it was indeed a part of the park and you can climb it. It was called Mount Wakakusa.

Look at that pee.
A Part of Mount Wakakusa from the foot of the mountain.
We walked towards the foot of the mountain. There was a cafe and deers taking a rest in front and I could clearly see people taking pictures and walking and stuff.

I walked towards the gate, bought the ticket, (yes you pay to climb) and was given a map of the mountain. There are three summits and that of the picture above isn't even the first.

Mount Wakakusa first summit.
Mount Wakakusa Third Summit.
It was a very painful climb up so my friend just waited down the summit and I climbed alone. I was already very tired from climbing Fushimi Inari and now I decided to climb Mount Wakakusa. Yeah I am pretty dedicated when it comes to exploring places.

Climbing up along the series of stairs towards the first summit I was already panting heavily and my nose was running for an unknown reason. When I reached the first summit I saw there was still so much to climb! Plus there weren't any stairs anymore!

I took a rest and then climbed to the second summit. the path was a bit narrow and steep and I was so tired that there were moments when I lost balance and risked falling down!

When I reached the second summit, I took a picture of the first summit below me and the third summit still above me (pictured above). Then I decided to climb up further towards the third summit...

Last few steps toward the third summit.
Me lying down on the third summit.
Nearing the third summit, the path presented me with stairs yet again. I was somewhat relieved to see the stairs because it would mean that it'd be easier to balance myself while climbing up.

When I reached the third summit I was literally just so tired that I did not give a damn about anything else and just lied down on the first patch of grass that I saw.

My legs were killing me, my feet were in pain. I was breathing heavily and all I could do was lie down and rest and close my eyes and remove my glasses.

After resting there were still so much to explore...

A sign post leading to somewhere...
This is what the signpost lead to.
A sign marking Mount Wakakusa's third summit.
I looked around me and I saw a sign and a path that lead to somewhere. I followed it and at the end there was a huge rock with writings on it. Out of my sheer tiredness - I forgot to take a picture of the rock. I only have a picture of the path leading to it.

I only roamed around for a little more trying to get my energy back and then decided to go on back down...

Path leading down from the third summit.
Another photo of the path down.
From the second summit, deer also heading back down after grazing through the grass.
From the first summit. View of Nara City.
Climbing down is always easier than climbing up. I relished looking at the views of Nara City and the fresh air that kept gently blowing off my face. I thought to myself: I climbed two "mountains" today and I got to see great views, it was a great workout, it was a great day.

The deer who went down with me from the summit.
Last photo of a cute deer. 
When I got back down the deer were already there eating through the grass. I was feeling tired but great. It was getting darker and darker fast we hurried on to Nara Station...

Heading back to Osaka.
Train back to Osaka.
Kyoto and Nara in one day was totally unexpected, let alone climbing two summits! It was, I think the second most tired I have ever been. (nothing can beat my Copenhagen tour back in 2013)

When we got to Osaka we headed back to the hotel. We still had a few more hours to tour the next day and we really took advantage of it...

This post is dedicated to the Japanese girl who ran after me on high heels because I left my phone on a bench in Nara Park. She returned my phone after running down two sets of stairs plus three city blocks. Thank you.