Japan Travel Diary/Guide: Nara and Osaka

While everyone have their eyes set on Tokyo and Kyoto, we planned a day trip to wander a bit less to learn about more on the regions of Osaka and Nara. It was such a short visit but I think that's enough for me to see what it's like there. Both prefectures are not much of a sight seeing cities, in my opinion, and can easily get a good sense in just a day or two. Both are only half an hour away from each other, and an easy hour commute away from Kyoto. Just stack on some Japanese snacks during your shinkansen or bus ride (my favorite is the onigiri from the convenience stores), and you're good to go!


When thinking about Nara, people generally think of a small town in Japan with deers everywhere. As soon as I got here, the rumors are true! But to add to it, Nara has been Japan's first capital back in the day. It holds a tremendous amount of old Japanese history with all the architectural structures and assets.

Great part of that asset are the cute wild deers frolicking around to get treats. These deers pertains to a great cultural heritage that is kept for thousands of years. The Shinto religion hold beliefs that deers acts as protectors and messenger of the gods, which explains why these deers are free roaming around Nara. Some are just lounging around, watching people come on their way to pet and take pictures of them. The deers are so polite that they bow to you. Once you start getting in contact with them, you'll lose track of time. They are cute and sweet and all, but once they see you have food on your hands, they get impatient and nudge you for a treat. I was one of those unlucky ones who got chased and "bitten" by deers because I had crackers on my hands (you can buy them anywhere around the park for 150 Yen or $1.35 USD). Only then will they be a little enthusiastic and border aggressive.

The park also have access to Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga-taisha Grand Shrine. Just give yourself enough time to walk around, because you'll be seeing more temples and shrines along the way (not listed below).

Places To Visit:

  • Nara Park
  • Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine
  • Kofuku-ji Temple
  • Todai-ji Temple
This is how relaxed they are if you don't have treats. Nara Park, Nara
Known as the Sika Deer, species of dotted deers in Nara that is highly significant in Shintoism.
The view on the way to Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine


Known as the "Japan's Kitchen," it truly is a food lover's paradise. Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and is mostly about food. If you travel for food, Osaka has the rightful reputation to have that title in Japan, and you'll be guaranteed not disappointed. There are few attractions to visit like the Universal Studios, aquarium, castles, temples, parks and museums, but not as comparable to Tokyo or Kyoto. If you really want to experience Osaka's food culture, head to Dōtonbori, which is surrounded by illuminated signs, multitude of street food and shops. You know you are in Dōtonbori when you see the iconic GlicoMan and the moving characters above restaurants (octopus, gyoza, crab, etc...).

Places To Visit:

  • Dōtonbori Street
  • Osaka Castle
  • Nishinomaru Garden
  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
  • Universal Studios Japan

Dōtonbori Street
Dōtonbori Street
Osaka Castle, main attraction in Osaka, encapsulates the history during war time.
The view from Osaka Castle: Okawa River and the skyline

What We Ate:

To add on the list of food that we indulged in Tokyo (click here),  here are some more yummy things to eat, for all my passionate foodies out there.

Please note that you will find a lot of competitive takoyaki stands, and guaranteed you'll find the best one out here. They're also known for okonomiyaki-on-a-stick here (refer to bottom two pictures).

Can't forget about desserts...

This would be the last part of my Japan experience. I had so much fun going through all the photos and reliving my experiences by sharing it to you. I hope you enjoyed all of this along with my other Japan travel diary/guides: Tokyo and Kyoto. I suggest you to read them first for transportation and other tips and tricks. Now onto my next adventure in Asia, stay tuned for SEOUL and TAIPEI!



  1. Japan Travel Diary/Guide: Nara and Osaka, your travel diary really has inspired me and i am really interested in making one trip to japan now