We go Japan! Nara and my night of eating

On our first free day with the train pass from H.I.S., Scott Suzui of Ultimate Japan decided that we should do something easy. Nara is about 30 to 40 minutes away, with one transfer. So, off we went. You probably have seen many photos of people who visit Nara and feed the Sika deer, which are considered sacred, and this is something different to do. Just a warning, the deer are aggressive about getting senbei. I’m told that you need to make them bow before getting fed, but not all of them seem to adhere to this rule! Here’s what you can see and do in Nara:

Ultimate Japan in Osaka

Picture 1 of 34

We had two free days with which to use a train pass that H.I.S. had included in the tour package. Some of our group went off on their own; since Scott and Mayumi’s “Ultimate Japan” show was going to Nara, most of our group decided to follow.

When you shop at that area next to the train station, you’ll find Daiso, the 100 yen store. Forget Kit Kat — the thing to buy here is pop rocks cotton candy, or a cold-air aerosol spray for hot days. In fact, I regret not buying more of that spray, which you can only get at Daiso.

My evening was even more fun and full of wonderful new treats. My client, Fred Paine of Pearlridge Center, had me meet his friend Kumiko Masuda, who lives in Osaka but spends half her time in Hawaii as her son goes to school here. As it turns out, Kumiko and her friend Kinuko Inoue are dining buddies, and had a long list of places for me to try! We narrowed it down, but it still ended up being about four hours of eating. As with all blogs, these were just the highlights of the day; to see all the photos, click here.

Ultimate Japan in Osaka

Picture 1 of 48

Eating is a hobby for Kumiko, even more than it is for me. Is that even possible? So we first went to Hankyu department store’s basement, where the food and cafes are, to have tea and snacks at Taneya.

Here’s a video of mochi pounding in Taneya, the cafe in Hankyu department store:

Up next: A day trip to Kyoto and a night of eating “variety meats!”