Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spring Breakers: Nara and Hakone

So sorry this vacation recap is taking me forever to finish up. Little Lulu has been quite the handful. As some of you may have seen via fb or instagram, hubs broke his leg in an attempt to avoid stepping on Lulu while he was running down the stairs. Chalk ER and doctor visit bills to the growing list of expenses she's costing us. It's a good thing she's so cute! Luckily it looks like she's doing a lot better with the potty training (knock on wood).

Anyway, when we last left off we were done with Kyoto and on our way to Nara. While in Nara we visited the famous Nara deer park. This place is so full of deer it's crazy - like everywhere you turn there's deer. They even sell special senbei for tourists to feed the deer. But take caution, these deer aren't the same as the docile deer we saw at Miyajima island. The deer in Nara are super pushy and agressive. As soon as you buy your senbei be prepared to be swarmed be deer pushing and shoving their way to the front. My mom even got a nip in the butt for ignoring the deer behind her. I was so amazed to see our tour guide bravely feed a deer a senbei from her own mouth! (Man I wish I'd taken a video of that). Either way it was still fun to get to feed the deer and pet them.

While at the deer park we visited Todai-ji, a buddhist temple known for housing the daibutsu, the largest bronze statue of Buddha. There is a supporting post inside the temple with a hole in it that's the same size as the statue's nostril. It's saod that if you're able to pass through you'll ne granted enlightenment in the next life. There was quite a line of people waiting to gain enlightenment so we watched in amusement as a large white guy struggled to get through with the help of some bystanders. And then a cute little girl who quickly and easily passed through right after. I guess enlightenment is grasped easier for children than for thought, huh?

After the deer park we took a bullet train to Mishima where we had 20 minutes to stuff ourselves silly with fresh strawberries we picked with our very own hands. Strawberries in Japan are absolutely on another level compared to strawberries here in the US. The strawberries are outrageously sweet and juicy. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

With our bellies full we made our way to Hakone. On the way to our hotel we stopped by the Hakone Sekisho Checkpoint. This was a checkpoint that travelers were required to stop through on their way to Tokyo during the Edo era. It was set up to mimic the what it would have looked like during that time.
We spent the night in Hakone and partook in traditional Japanese hot springs. It was very interesting how comfortable people in Japan are with walking around and hanging out together stark naked for such a modest country. Kind of reminds me of those times I've been in the locker rooms at the gym with the asian ladies that just walk around so casually with all their goods hanging out.

After our night in Hakone we headed to our last stop in Japan, Tokyo.

Already forgot all the other stuff we did during our epic spring break vacay? Check out our posts on Hawaii, Singapore, Hiroshima, and Kyoto.

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