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First time in Nara

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Manila, Philippines
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112 posts
35 reviews
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First time in Nara

We're very excited to spend a day in Nara on April 7 saturday. Planning to visit Todaji, Kasuga and other sites on this day. We're a group of 4 coming from shinsaibashi osaka and quite confused on how to plan our route and places to visit. We'll be leaving shimsaibashi around 10am.

We'll probably avoid buses and just take trains and taxis to save time.

Any suggestion regarding route, transportation, places to see, places to eat is much appreciated.

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: First time in Nara

From Shinsaibashi, take Metro Midosuji Line or walk to Namba. Take Kintetsu Nara Line Rapid (Kaisoku Kyuko) or perhaps Ltd Exp (500 yen surcharge) to Kintetsu Nara. Go out of the station. Todaiji is slightly uphill about 10-15 minutes walk from the station. Nara is not so large, and Todaiji/Kofukuji/Kasuga shrine is not far away from each other, so you might take your time walking in the park. If you are tired, you may take the bus running frequently in loops inside Nara city.

2. Re: First time in Nara

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Edited: 1:40 am, March 01, 2012
Nara, Japan
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for Nara, Kamikochi
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3. Re: First time in Nara

Sorry for the above. Let me rewrite here:

If you focus on sakuras, come and feast your eyes on them at 1)Ukimido and its surrounds, 2)Nigatsudo/February Hall, and 3)Wakakusa Hill.

For #1, you should take the side lane on your right-hand side into the wooded area (toward Ryokan Edosan) at Number 1 Torii Gate, which you'll see when you pass Sarusawa Pond/5storied Pagoda. To reach here, you may like to ride a Kintetsu train so you can short-cut your way. After #1, you head for Kasuga Shrine, and then Wakakusa Hill. If you like gorgeous views of sakura and those of the spread of the city down below, do go in there: 200-yen admission required per person. For your light lunch, you'd be tempted to drop in at a thatched-roof Japanese-style restaurant on a small river on your way here. Nigatsudo would be the last stretch of your leg in Deer Park after you've done Wakakusa Hill. On your return leg, take the right-hand side lane as you face your back to Nigatsudo so that you will see gorgeous sakuras and Japanese magnolias along the chic-walled buildings.

If you are into culture and still have some time to spare, you may also like to visit National Museum or Isuien/Yoshikien Garden.

Manila, Philippines
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112 posts
35 reviews
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4. Re: First time in Nara

Thanks again for the replies. They're spot on.

Are there any sites in the area that are nice to visit in the early evening for a relaxed dinner and possibly sites that are lit-up at night?

Nara, Japan
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for Nara, Kamikochi
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5. Re: First time in Nara

5storied Pagoda is partially lit up during the nighttime 7days a week. Hope this won't be a letdown , but unlike Kyoto Nara doesn't have a 'light-up' event scheduled for the sakura time.

BTW, what kind of meal do you have in mind for your dinner?

Manila, Philippines
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112 posts
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6. Re: First time in Nara

Since there are are really no "light-up" events in the area, would you suggest we spend the evening in another area?

For some idea, this is our initial plan commuting to and from shinsaibashi osaka:

Day1 thursday- higashiyama area, ginkakuji to kiyomizudera, gion in the evening and visit light up in kodaji.

Day2 friday- kinkakuji, arashiyama (otagi nenbutsuji, gioji, tenryuji, bamboo forest) still not sure how to put this in order...and where to spend the evening.

Day3 saturday- Nara (todaji, kofukuji, kasuga shrine)

Trying to fit in Fushimi Inari in this plan.

Regarding dinner, we have no particular meal in mind. Maybe something local in a relaxed atmoshere.

Edited: 9:10 pm, March 01, 2012
Nara, Japan
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for Nara, Kamikochi
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7. Re: First time in Nara

It's all up to you to decide whether or not to spend the night on April 7 in Nara. By that time you've already seen the killer vibe in Dotombori of 'bright-lights-big cities' and the atmospheric nighttime event in Kyoto. Nara is more sedate, compared to them, but you sure will enjoy a kind of festive mood while in here.

There used to be a nice family-friendly Italian restaurant I sorta frequented on the boulevard, but it's gone now. Across from it on the other boulevard side is 'Restaurant Kasuga,' which is quite easy to find and is comfy as well. Yes, it's located inside Kasuga Hotel.

But you may want to explore the shopping arcade 30-40meters away from it, where you may find yourself letting your eyes fixed to plastic foods in the glass-paneled display at each restaurant: there's a series of them possibly catering to your needs like, mini-kaiseki, udon/soba noodles, chicken meat, okonomiyaki, Italian/Vietnamese dishes, belt-conveyor sushi, and so forth. Down 50meters or so from that arcade on the boulevard side is a strip of area focusing on culinary delights, ensconced on the upper Konishi/Sakura Street. In here too you sure will find some that draw your attention.

Manila, Philippines
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112 posts
35 reviews
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8. Re: First time in Nara

Appreciate all the help.

9. Re: First time in Nara

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