After waking up to a beautiful view of Osaka, we headed down for breakfast at a bakery in Osaka Station. It was delicious! They had everything displayed in the window so you couldn't help but stop by! After devouring a few pastries, we headed to catch a train to Nara. It was about a 30 minute train ride southeast of Osaka. The city is inhabited by wild deer that can be quite aggressive at times! They are everywhere and they come right up to you. Street vendors sell deer cracker packs for 100 yen that you can feed to them. It was quite an experience!
After being bombarded by deer, we headed to the Todaiji Temple. It is a Buddhist temple complex and it houses the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. It is also said to be the largest wooden structure in the world. The pictures don't do it justice! I was just doing some research on the temple and it said that the deer are regarded as messengers to the gods in the Shinto religion and that is why the roam freely. Interesting...
There is a hole in one of the pillars inside the temple and legend has it that if you can get through the hole then you will have good luck for the rest of your life. Amanda was the only one in our group brave enough or small enough to try and she made it! She had quite a few bruises though!
Next I had my first experience with having to take off my shoes. We went to a little local restaurant to eat. Our professor had been there on a previous trip ten years earlier and was hoping it was still there. I honestly have no idea what I ate, but it was delicious! :)
After lunch, we were walking down a street when all of a sudden we stumbled upon some sort of parade. What a treat! We think it was a celebration of the new season. So cool!
We had an excellent day exploring Nara! By this point I was finally getting comfortable with counting yen! I think it might be easier than counting American money! All their coins are labeled with their value, How much easier would that be to teach kids?!?! Here is an example of the Japanese currency. The coins come in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen. 100 yen is pretty much the equivalent of a dollar. Then their bills are 1000, 5000, and 10000 yen. :)