Moving on from the apartment near Tanimachi the next place I was meant to be staying should have been in Umeda, around Osaka Station City allowing quick access for travel to Kyoto for the next few days, however due to some issue with the apartment having an issue, I got relocated to a place just a couple of minutes walk south of Namba City.
Which as it turns out worked out really well!! As the location was amazing! One street away from Namba City, Namba Parks and a Namba walk & station. Also with Nipponbashi & Dotonbori within 5 & 10 minutes.
Now something that would be discovered over the next few days was that the Namba station, City & Walk area were massive! The station itself is located on a basement level along with a long twin shopping street that was Namba Walk. Above was a large shopping complex forming Namba City, with plenty of other stores and food places on the regular streets around it.
At the time we joked train stations in Japan were bigger than UK towns, I’ve actually just been messing around on google maps and found out Namba station is bigger than the city of Chelmsford where I was born! And in fact Umeda station with it’s shopping area is over 3 times the size of a UK CITY!
And if that wasn’t enough Namba station even has fish tanks in the middle of it, just for fun and to look nice. Honestly train stations in Japan are just so much nicer than towns and cities in England, they’re cleaner, nicer, bigger, and have more variety of shops and food places.
Return to Nara!
Now I won’t go on with too much about Nara, as I wrote quite a bit about it last year (Here).
One of the differences this time is that last year I had stood in the grounds of the old Imperial Palace in Nara looking out across the picturesque countryside watching a train cut across the fields in a rather anime like scene. This year coming from Osaka rather than Kyoto, I was on the that train cutting across those fields looking back out of the window at the spot where I stood last year!
I’m quite glad I woke up in time (Having not been feeling well I’d fallen asleep for most of the journey out from Namba!) to realise and see out from this other perspective to effectively see the reverse of last year and a past version of me standing there, it was quite surreal.
Also grabbed lunch in a small homely café that I hadn’t found last year, really great food!
In terms of the park the sakura were in bloom just like last time, and the deer just as soft and cuddly as last time! I managed to restrain from spending as much on cookies for the deer as I did last time, and of course there were still a few deer trying to push others out of the way for food, as well as following you closely until they got food.
One question that did spring to mind this time around, is that there was a small island in the middle of a lake with a few deer on it. No pathway on or off, the water looked like it was deep enough not to be able to walk through, passing back later the deer had gone. So can deer swim?! Or fly?! Jump more than 10 meters?! It’s a mystery!
Todai-ji was undergoing renovations, so the entrance had been moved to the main gate this year, though there were preparations underway for a music event that was to take place there in a week or so, so the main approach to the temple was out of action and it was a case of having to go around.
The place was still just as impressive second time around, inside is of course pretty much unchanged, the only difference I noticed was the omission of the large Buddha hand from last year.