Before anyone goes travelling and stays in a hostel, I believe one should be trained on the etiquettes of sharing a dorm with strangers. This was particularly the case in the hostel I stayed at in Osaka. The people in my dorm were up until 3am incessantly packing and unpacking their suitcase. This wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t have the LOUDEST plastic bags in the world! 3 hours of plastic scrunching interspersed with LOUDLY whispered conversations is hellish. What’s even worse is the arrangement of the beds. Although little stacked booths, the dividing walls had a small gap at the top meaning that if the people either side of you decided to switch on their light, your booth would be flooded with light too. Great. It’s a shame because the Fuku Hostel Namba’s facilities were pretty good overall; clean toilets, showers and beds, not to mention a 10/10 location. But given my experience, I really don’t think I’d stay there again, sorry!
Feeling a little sleep deprived and grumpy due to last night (and the previous nights!) antics, the day and a half of solo travelling ended and I met up with a friend (Wesley!) who I would travel with for the rest of the trip. From Osaka, the train to Nara is only 30 minutes and once you arrive at the train station, it’s only around a 20 min walk to the deer park. It’s amazing to see so many deer in one place and a little terrifying when you go to feed them but end up being swarmed! Wesley was the first to experience this and ended up running in circles trying to escape the huge herd that had formed around him – it was pretty hilarious! The key to this is to stand your ground and be firm, even if they nip at you. If you encounter a few on their own, they should bow before you give them food, which is really cute to see! In fact, I saw a lovely moment between a deer and an old grandmother who just kept exchanging bows to one another!
There’s a lot of shrines and temples easily within walking distance to visit too. For the budget conscious however, keep in mind 99% (likely 100%) charge an entrance fee, so it’s best to research what you want to see beforehand. The entrance fees aren’t exactly expensive, but 500 yen does quickly add up! Kasuga-Taisha Shrine is popular with visitors and you might even catch some baby deer hiding between the stone lanterns. Speaking of the stone lanterns, it would make for a spectacular sight to see them lit up at night – do they ever do this for special occasions?
One of my favourite days spent in Japan, Nara is the perfect place for a day trip out of the city and reconnect with nature. If I hadn’t sold this to you enough, I’m sure the deer will!