Japan 2013: Day 4 Osaka & Nara Day Trip Part 4

DAY 4 (CON’T)

Cutting through the Naramachi district whilst on route to Gango-ji.  Actually the map does not state Naramachi, it only indicates to keep walking straight. Only realised when writing this now that the district that I passed through was actually Naramachi 😛

More on Naramachi here – http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4108.html. The former merchant district of Nara, as characterised by the traditional machiya (long, narrow townhouses) along the narrow streets ……

Naramachi

Got lost a little bit before managing to get more accurate information from the passer-bys on the road, and finally managed to locate Gango-ji Temple – which is inside a small street.

Just like Todaiji & Kofukuji, Gango-ji is also a UNESCO World Heritage designated site, as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara. It is also a Buddhist temple, under the Shingon School of Japanese Buddhism, and the oldest buddhist temple in Japan (refer back to my Part 1 entry). Entrance fee is 400 JPY ……

P1020762

Ganjo-ji is a much smaller temple than Todaiji (or even Kofukuji) as only 3 halls remain preserved (out of the original 7). In terms of architecture, it is more zen-like and serene as compared to Todaiji. There were hardly any visitors as I reached at 4-plus, pretty near the 5pm closing time. Got from a friendly uncle at the entrance counter some directions on how to walk the recommended course round the temple ……

20140107-023328.jpg

The Gokurakudo (i.e. Main Hall) and the Zen Room. Very nice wooden exterior and very well-preserved.

Ganjo-ji 1

The stone buddhas outside the compound ……

Gango-ji 2

One of the key features of the Gokurakudo and the Zen room that are National Treasures is their beautiful roofs. Japan’s oldest tile roofing called “Gyokibuki” is constructed by partially overwrapping roof tiles of folding-fan shape, which creates varied and quaint expressions.

Source: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/shritemp/gango-ji-temple.html

20140108-005009.jpg

Had intended to do some editing to the shots but decided to present it as originally taken in the end as the grey-ness of it makes the tile roofing and the autumn leaves adorning it look more authentic, given that it is already 430pm, where the sky is starting to turn dark ……

Nice temple it may be, but really lush compound which is very well maintained (I guess the entrance fees charged by these UNESCO sites go towards maintenance of such cultral and historical relics) ……

20140108-022006.jpg

That marks the end of my visit to Ganjo-ji!

Made the walk back to where I came from (i.e the pond as landmark) as the Nara Kotsu bus doesn’t seem to run into the Naramachi district. Saw the shopping street that I took a picture of earlier, and turned into that street. Otherwise known as the Higashimuki Shopping Arcade which leads back to the Kintetsu Nara Station.

Not really in the mood for shopping, but did pop in to one of the drugstores along the arcade to check out the Shisedo Perfect Whip prices. They were selling it for 640 JPY. Total rip off!! (I got it the day before at Osaka Station for 299 JPY only) ….,,

Thank god there were bus stops right beside the Kintetsu Nara Station, and a stop included for the Nara Kotsu bus line. Yes, it’s really near to JR Nara (around 10 min walk) but as mentioned earlier, wasn’t in the mood to do much walking that day + not wanting to let my day pass go to waste …… So took the bus back to JR Nara station.

Reached JR Nara Station a little after 5. Rushed straight to the washroom (and forgot all about getting the leaf sushi :P) …… Walked out of the station to take some pictures before the train comes ….. There are hotels, a huge bridge (leading to some halls and sports facilities I think) around the station area.

20140108-023833.jpg

1 hour later, back at Osaka Station. Walked around a bit, changed my mind about going back to the Umeda Sky Observatory for the night views as once again, I was really in the don’t feel like walking mode 😛

Checked out the Christmas Illumination light up instead at Osaka Station City which starts from the North exit (facing Yodabashi and Grand Front Osaka). Nothing spectacular ……

20140108-025552.jpg

Changed my mind about checking out the Sweets Museum at Yodabashi Umeda Building (the don’t feel like walking mood at work once again). Saw that there was a Wired Cafe so went up, saw that there was a quene and went back down again …… Ended up window shopping at Daimaru Umeda since there was still time before the food hall closing sales start around 730pm. And walked into the Tokyu Hands Outlet inside Daimaru. Time to do some recee (before I buy whatever I’ve set my eyes on back in Tokyo later in the trip) ……

Tokyu Hands Umeda

No photo taking was allowed inside Daimaru/Tokyu Hands, but the cashier and sales assistants were kind enough to let me take the pictures 🙂 …. Really interesting items, such as a plastic steamer, great variety of kitchen utensils, stationery, handphone accessories, beauty products etc. …… Truly a lifestyle store in every sense of the word. I guess the variety will be even more humongous back at its flagship store in Shibuya 😛

Made it this time round for the closing food hall sales and got what I need. Decided to pack dinner from the food hall to eat in the comfort of my hotel room.

It became the day where I left hotel the latest and came back the earliest (reached around 815 to 820 pm) to ‘re check-in’ to my semi-double western room. Finally a bigger and more comfortable room on a higher floor (less noise from the Karaoke pubs opposite the hotel) …. more space and a bigger bed! Yay!

P1020805

My eat in dinner! Packed the Rice With Fish (can’t remember what fish) from Hanshin which cost 480 JPY only …. And grabbed the calamari from Hankyu at 180 JPY as the rice was 1 normal bowl rice (rather than being a huge bento) …… Decent meal considering the cost (closing sales) but would have tasted really great if there were microwave facilties in the hotel ……

P1020810

Last night in Osaka, so got a dessert from Hanshin to round off my meal. The cheesecake should be around 380 to 400 JPY, from a Kobe-based bakery counter called Bocksun. Loved the packaging + it was so nice of them to put in the dry ice to ‘cool’ the cake whilst I walk back to my hotel ……

Very delicious cheesecake that has the exact right texture, yet its light and not too cheesy! Went to google and made a mental note to look out for Bocksun Bakery/Cafe when I get to Kobe the next day, heh …..

20140108-133858.jpg

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s