Our tour resumed today and our first stop was Osaka Castle. We didn’t take the trains anymore because we had out tour bus back. We also got a new tour guide! A male Singaporean. So many Singaporeans in Japan, la!

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On the way to the castle we saw this adorable puppy and a samurai!!!

85 Japan Travel Osaka
I forgot his name but he was so cute, all decked out in color!
85.1 Japan Travel Osaka Samurai
We caught this guy on his way to a photo booth outside Osaka castle!

We didn’t have time to go inside the castle so our tour guide brought us to a “secret area” where we could take the best photo with the castle.

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The Fam Bam~
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I had the opportunity to try out authentic Karaage before we left the castle grounds!

After our short stop at Osaka Castle (Tours, am I right?), we headed straight to Nara to visit the popular Deer Park and the Todaiji.

The Todaiji, or Great Eastern Temple, is one of Japan’s most famous temples and it is a landmark of Nara.

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Todaiji’s Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world’s largest wooden building! This gigantic hall houses one of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha (Daibutsu) statue, and it is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.

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The Daibutsu.
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One of the Bodhisattvas.

Several smaller Buddhist statues and parts (?) are also in display inside the Daibutsuden Hall.

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This hand was big enough to fit all three children in its palm!

But another popular attraction inside the great hall is a wooden pillar with a hole in the base. They say that the hole is the same size as the Daibutsu’s nostril! Imagine that!

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The pillar. A huge statue watches over everyone who tries to go through Buddha’s nostril.
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My sister in the middle of being blown out of Buddha’s nose.

We also found this guy right outside the Daibutsuden. I think it’s called Binzuru. He’s special because he is said to have excelled in the mastery of occult powers.

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People believed that when a person rubs a part of the statue of Binzuru and then rubs the corresponding part of his own body, whatever was ailing him/her there will disappear! I tried it on my back.

The other popular residents of the park were the hundreds of free roaming deer! (This also meant there were a ton of ‘landmines’ you had to watch out for, if you know what I mean.)

85.9 Japan Travel Nara Deer

The deer are considered to be messengers of gods in Shinto. These deer have become a symbol of Nara city and are designated as a natural treasure! Lucky them!

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Don’t be fooled by these cute faces!

The deer are tame (I mean, look at those sleepy little fellas) until you decide to feed them shika senbei. These are special crackers for the deer that are sold for 100-150 yen a stack inside the park. Word of caution: Prepare for a hundred head-butts once you start feeding them! Be ready to run as well!

After our one stop at Nara, I was back in Kyoto. Our next destination was thankfully included in the tour’s itinerary, Fushimi Inari Taisha.

This is a very popular destination and so there were countless people there. The street leading to the shrine was lined with a lot of food stalls! Sadly, I didn’t have time to try any of them out because we were on limited time and I needed to take the best possible shots I could get at the shrine.

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Legit takoyaki!
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More dango!

If you’ve read my previous Japan posts, I went to a shrine that had a bright orange bridge. Fushimi Inari Taisha’s structures are also painted with the same vibrant color. Although I think it’s more vermillion than orange. What do you think?

85.97 Japan Travel Kyoto Temple Fushimi Inari

85.96 Japan Travel Kyoto Temple Fushimi Inari

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. What attracts tourists to this particular shrine are the thousands of torii gates that cover a network of trails that lead into the forest of the sacred Mount Inari. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.

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Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers so you’ll see quite a few kitsune statues around the shrine.
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A giant torii gate with foxes standing guard on both sides.
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Senbon Torii, or A Thousand Torii Gates, straddle both paths of the hiking trail.

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The gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies. This is because Inari was seen as the patron of business since early Japan. At the back of each gate, you’ll find the name and the date of the donation. Each gate starts at around 400,000 yen (small gate)and may reach up to over 1,000,000 yen for the bigger gates!

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The shrine was a very nice backdrop for the locals who came in their yukata and kimono!

The day was coming to a close and we were all pretty tired but since we’re on a tour, we had to muster up the energy for one last stop. The famed Kinkaku-ji, or Temple of the Golden Pavillion.

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The Temple of the Golden Pavillion is a Zen-Buddhist temple in Kyoto. It’s designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape. The Kinkaku-ji attracts a lot of visitors every year!

The top two floors of the pavillion is completely covered in gold leaf. So, really, it’s not just gold paint.

There wasn’t much to see except for the Pavillion itself and since we weren’t allowed to go inside, all we did was take photos of the pond and the golden structure.

I also took photos of this trio in yukatas. Turns out, they were Taiwanese and not Japanese.

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Check out the rest of my trip with the links below!

Day 1 – Ramen, Japanese Harry Potter, & Monster Hunter!

Day 2 – Running Man, Scary Escalators, & Heavenly Beef!

Day 3 – Ethereal Bamboo Groves, Geisha Town, & The Longest Shopping Street in Japan

Day 5 – Kyoto’s Kitchen, Fairy Light Tunnel, and My First Pokémon Center

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