TRAVEL: Japan Day 4

For our fourth day in Japan, hubby got us another Klook Tour: Kyoto and Nara Day Tour! I’m excited to meet the deers since they always seem so friendly. ❤

Since we were joining a Group Tour from Klook, our Pick-up Location is in VIP Villa in Namba at 7:50 am. But the hubby wants to be on time, and when I say on time – it means an hour early. We were there by 7:00 am! And I guess other guests had the same thing in mind since several joiners were there already. (And I noticed that almost half of our group are Filipinos too. Haha)

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The drive from Namba to Kyoto was about 2 hours so even though we got up so early, we had time to take a nap. 🙂 First Stop: Kinkaku-ji Temple. (or what they call Golden Temple) Entrance Fee is 400 yen. (but since we got this from Klook, it’s free already)

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The Golden Temple was previously a retirement home but became a Zen Temple. The top two floors are completely covered in Gold Leaf. AND, the temple has burned down several times already. Can you believe it?

I love how peaceful the whole place is. The temple is surrounded by a pond in the middle of a garden full of trees and plants. No wonder it used to be a retirement place.

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But before you get to the temple, you will pass by this house that used to be the living quarters of the head priest. See? It really is surrounded by lovely trees! especially in autumn. ❤

Next Stop: Kasuga Tai-sha

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This place is the most celebrated shrine in Nara and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. It is also one of the most sacred places since a lot of the Gods are enshrined in the place. On the way to this place, our tour guide taught us on how to honor the place: (as seen below, the husband is trying).

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Next: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of the most famous landmarks – the sky high bamboo groves are truly instagrammable. But unfortunately, we didn’t know that we needed to pay extra to go inside the road (at the back of hubby) to get a good picture. As I said, one of the most famous, thus it attracts CRAZY number of tourists!

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We don’t have a good photo to show you the giant bamboos that fill this place. BUT!!! Along side the road leading to it, there’s a LOT of food stands and stores on the road. So we managed to try  the following:

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Husband tried the Ichigo Daifuku – It is a Japanese confection, a mochi filled with bean paste, split into two and a fresh strawberry is placed within. The hubby liked it. ❤ I tried it too but I don’t really eat strawberries. Sooooo. . .

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I normally won’t go for Gyoza since I feel like the meat usually is dry. But this is good. ❤ The sauce is perfect, it was soft and the meat was not dry. Thumbs Up!

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I was pretty excited that there were ice creams in sight but as I looked closely to each store, they were all offering BAMBOO flavored desserts. I don’t eat Matcha and Green Tea so you know where my hesitations are coming from. BUT, I still wanted to try this Bamboo Flavored Soft Ice Cream – and it tastes exactly as matcha. :/ so the hubby finished it by himself.

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We also managed to try Grilled Crabs and Rice Cakes too. There’s a bunch of stores lined up in the streets and I’m a bit overwhelmed. We both wanted to try everything. 😛

Since we consumed most of our time binge-eating in the street, we decided to eat our late lunch in one of the restaurants in front of the parking, so we can see our bus. And obviously, we ate Tempura – the safest order. 😛

Another Stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha – It is famous for its thousands of Vermilion Torii Gates.

It is the most important shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Also, You have to be really patient – since there are so many tourists here too. You can never really get a shot with no one there to ruin the shot. 😛

Fun Fact: The thousand gates are donated by different individuals — and their names are written on the gates. One gate costs around 400,000 yen.

Our Last Stop: Nara Park

A very large park home to hundreds of deers. ❤

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Like I said, it is home to deers, roaming around freely. ❤ You can interact with them! Deer Crackers are sold at 100 yen for 10 crackers!! And it’s so fun! They are so tame and it seems like no matter how many tourists are there to feed them, they always seem to be hungry.

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The deers are said to be messenger of Gods. At first, I couldn’t decipher which of them are fawns or which of them are the older ones. But after some research, I read that their antlers are removed every October. (so that’s why!) – Antler Cutting Tradition – for safety reasons.

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Another fun fact: Deer Crackers are just wheat flour and rice bran. And all of the profits from the crackers are used for the sole purpose of protecting the deers.

Before we left for Nara, we also found a good spot:

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Going back, I think everyone went back at around 6:30 pm and we left by 7:00 pm. There’s also a store where you can buy your souvenirs even deer shaped chocolates too! ❤

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It’s been good, Nara and Kyoto. ❤ I cannot wait to go back and explore you more! We got back at around 8:30 pm and since it was late, we went to dinner straight.

Dinner at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M (The restaurant is quite famous so they require reservations.)

A winner in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, ranking number 1 in Japan, and number 5 in Asia.

We first heard about this place from a friend who is pretty well traveled. We were warned that it is quite pricey — and it is. I believe this is our most expensive meal in our entire stay in Japan.

We ordered the Matsusaka Tasting Platter for 3,000 Yen – 2 pieces for each type of beef. The Beef that’s included are Sirloin Steak, Kyukyoku and Haneshita.

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You will be the one to cook this on grill in front of you. We were taught to cook each side of the beef for at least 2 minutes for the perfect taste. You are also given different sauces to go with it.

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I LOVE MEAT. and I’m amazed how tender the beef is. ❤ it’s so flavorful. Although it’s not quite filling since we shared this, did not regret this as we really wanted to try one of the best in Osaka. ❤

And because we only shared 1 rice (you know how we Filipinos love our rice), the hubby still wanted to eat. We ended up trying Okonomiyaki. We were trying to find a particular place, famous for its Okonomiyaki but we failed.

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We ordered the Pork Okonomiyaki with Big Size Octopus for 550 Yen with Draft Beer at 430 Yen.

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I don’t really eat Okonomiyaki. But I tried it – hubby says it’s good. The size is huge too!

Okonomiyaki, when translated means ‘grilled as you like it’. It’s a Japanese Pancake with cabbage, flour, eggs and variety of meat.

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And that ends our Fourth Day! 😀 We are pretty productive, don’t you think? Sad to be leaving tomorrow. 😦

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