A traditional Japanese breakfast was included with our ryokan stay. The low tables were beautifully set out and we enjoyed every morsel, though exactly how to eat was somewhat of a mystery.
Zita could see a little Japanese lady in front of her that we met in the lift- so we had some copy commentary there.
We wanted to get the local express train to Nara. As we had been on that line the day before we knew exactly where to go and we made it just in time to get a seat. The train was very crowded but we were delighted to see that cherry blossoms were opening even more.
We had a coffee at the station got the local intel from the tourism lady. It was pretty simple to get to the deer park.
There were stacks of deer, approx 1400. We had a lot of fun feeding deer and photographing our efforts including the selfie challenge where we needed to take a selfie with a deer. We were sold a little packet of malty biscuits to feed them. The deer were quite cunning snatching any bikkies that they could from unsuspecting tourists or handbags.
There was a temple with the Sakura fully opened and it was beautiful. We also saw quite a few brides and grooms being photographed with deer.
We had lunch from a coin vending restaurant where you choose a numbered meal from a picture put your money into the machine and punch in the number. You then get a ticket which you give to the man standing near the machine and he then makes the meal and it appears on your table – there seems to be a few extra steps in this process that are a bit unnecessary . However, we loved the ramen we were served.
We timed it beautifully to walk straight on the train to Osaka. Though sometimes gates and trains changes were a bit stressful! After finding our way to our new home The Lutheran, which was right near the Osaka Castle, we took a short break.
The first of the trip.
Russell then found a cycle shop a train stop away for road bikes. We were off. We went out after dark and decided to look at Osaka Castle by night. The moat and walls were amazing and lit up it seemed straight out of a Japanese fairytale. We walked into the outer court and to our delight the cherry blossoms were all around and lit up with lanterns and lights. Lots of people were walking in and buying tickets so we decided to join the queue. We are sooo glad we did! Under all of the Sakura were hundreds of people having Sakura picnics and parties with tarps and the ground and shoes all neatly lined up around the outside. Lots of men and boys were in suits were together enjoying a beer and snacks. Temporary Lawsons ( convenient stores) were set up outside the castle so that people could grab their picnic stuff on the way in. Our first experience of the famous Sakura Parties. We are looking forward to ours in Tokyo.
We had a most unusual dinner this night – not so much the meal itself but the way we ordered and managed the food. We were ushered into a private booth and told in interesting English – Order there……. and that was it – end of wait staff…… on the table was an iPad. We muddle through trying to find an English button and started to order. Next a waiter arrived with some raw cabbage and cucumber sticks and a small pot of sweet pickle jam. We were surprised and wondered how we had ordered that! He abruptly explained that we had a surcharge each and this were part of that package. After that we found the free stuff and started to make sure we had full value for the service. This biggest surprise was that this was the only place that we had had a surcharge and the service was appalling! The wait staff seem to just dump without any I contact -all of our meals on the table without regard as to who ordered what. We were then left, after their hurried entrance and exit, to sort out our meals and put them in the correct places. The food however was fine. We retired to the hotel with a bottle of wine to plan the next day while we waited for the washing to wash.
Step count: 24,756