Nara

New gachapon figures resurrect centuries-old toys for your amusement

No matter how the times change, kids still love toys. Whether it was ancient Egypt or the mid-Edo period, toys have always been a big part of the way children passed their time in play. Even with all our fancy technology today, from 3DSs to Oculus Rifts, kids still make time to run around with their favorite dolls or plastic guns. Of course, Japan is full of figures of all varieties and price tags, but gachapon occupy a position of near invincibility–you can put pretty much anything in those little plastic balls and they’re practically guaranteed to sell.

And, starting soon, you’ll also be able to buy remakes of traditional Japanese toys from the early 18th century. You’ll finally get the opportunity to play like a kid from the Edo Period while waiting for your 3DS to recharge!

Read More

Is this 1,300-year-old dish found in Nara actually cursed?

Though the current capital of Japan is Tokyo, many would argue that its traditional capital, Kyoto, is the real heart of Japan–at least culturally speaking. That said, if you you’re looking for the original capital of Japan, you’d probably be better heading south from Kyoto to Nara Prefecture. But while you should definitely stop and see Heijo-kyo in Nara City, you’ll have to keep heading south to Asuka Village to find the “real” original capital of Japan: Asuka-kyo. Of course, in the 1,300 years since the end of the Asuka Period, the capital has essentially been lost to time–all that’s left are stony remnants like those pictured above.

But that’s not the only patch of old ruins to be found in Asuka area–there are so many, they can actually get in the way of building a house! But with the news of the discovery of a piece of “cursed” earthenware, we have to wonder if maybe it’s just time for everyone to pack up and head for a slightly less historically significant area!

Read More

Biker assaulted by iron bar-wielding Nara innkeeper, not the other way around

The are many pleasant sights and sounds to be found around Japan. One of the most famous is the exaggerated revving of groups of motorbike engines at all hours of the day and night. They’re often referred to as bosozoku which although often translated as “biker gangs” can be misleading as that would imply the use of at least somewhat cool bikes. Bosozoku kids, contrastingly, often ride scooters customized for peak annoyance of all those around, and some of them don’t actually ride their bikes at all.

Despite efforts by law enforcement, this trend continues all over Japan. So it comes as no surprise when people take the law into their own hands. In the case of one Nara resident, “the law” came in the form of an iron bar which he used to break the knee of an allegedly noisy biker.

Read More

“Nara Quest”: The perfect parodying souvenirs from Nara Prefecture for all Dragon Quest fans

What would you get if you crossed the ancient capital of Japan with the massively successful Dragon Quest series of video games? Nope, it’s not a silly question, since this collaboration has already been realized in the form of “Nara Quest,” the funny title for a handful of amusing souvenirs from Nara Prefecture that parody the famous game franchise. Read on for a look at the clever goods!

Read More

Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets

Although it’s often overshadowed by Kyoto, the city of Nara can also count itself among the pre-Tokyo capitals of Japan. As a matter of fact, Nara was to be the country’s first permanent capital, challenging the beliefs of the day that the death of an emperor contaminated the area and necessitated moving the base of power.

Nara no longer represents the same lofty political authority it once did, but the city is still the site of several important temples, as well as the impressive Nara Daibutsu, a bronze Buddha statue nearly 15 meters (49 feet) tall.

And yet, the first thing most people think of when they hear Nara is deer, since over 1,000 of the animals live inside Nara Park. But even with roughly 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of space to run around in, sometimes the deer like to stray outside the park’s boundaries, such as they do each July when they occupy this sidewalk and stretch of road.

Read More

Good news, Nara residents! You’re in the middle of a huge upside-down pentagram!

The pentagram is a simple shape with deep meanings. No matter what faith or race we come from that little star seems to conjure up thoughts and feelings more than mere circles or dodecahedrons could ever do to the masses.

So when someone tweeted an image from Google Maps with a pentagram laying upside-down over much of the Kansai Region of Japan, it generated quite a bit of buzz along with 13,000 retweets. It was created by joining several religiously significant locations in the area and has Japan’s ancient capital of Nara smack dab in the center.

Read More

【TBT】In Japan, even cute animals obey the law

We’ve all no doubt heard of the polite deer in the city of Nara that have learned to bow their heads to tourists in order to get food, but did you know that they also obey the law and know how to cross the road properly?

Check out these photos for one incredibly cute example of how to use a pedestrian crossing!

Read More

In Japan, even cute animals obey the law 【Photos】

We’ve all no doubt heard of the polite deer in the city of Nara that have learned to bow their heads to tourists in order to get food, but did you know that they also obey the law and know how to cross the road properly?

Check out these photos for one incredibly cute example of how to use a pedestrian crossing!

Read More

Nara resident trying to build house stumbles upon forgotten ruins on five separate occasions

In 2010, Nara City in Nara Prefecture celebrated the 1,300th anniversary since becoming the imperial capital of Japan. During its relatively brief time as capital, the city flourished in culture so that even today the area is filled with ruins and relics of it rich distant past.

To have such a city overflowing with cultural heritage representing a romantic period in the history of Japan is both awesome and, well, a royal pain in the butt for anyone who wants to develop land there.

Just ask one poor guy, who tried to build a home to start his life in only to be shot down five times in a row after ruins were found on his land. Distraught and with nowhere else to turn he posted his woes on internet advice site MyNavi News Q & A for help. Here is his translated post.

Read More

Places you simply must visit: Nara edition

Often overlooked in favor of Kyoto, Nara Prefecture is one of the most beautiful and significant places—culturally and historically—in Japan. If you happen to be traveling in the Kansai region, we cannot urge you enough to make the time to swing by!

In fact, there’s so much to see that we can’t possibly tell you about every amazing place in Nara, but here are a few of our favorites!

Read More

We Try Fried Piranha, Even Dead and Cooked It’s Pretty Dangerous

Nara Kenko Land is a well-known spa here in Japan which offers pools, baths, massages, and exercise equipment.

However, for a limited time they are holding the “Big Amazon Mysterious Fish Exhibit” giving us a rare chance to eat the South American river’s fish, including the deadly piranha.

Suspicious that a health spa would offer edible piranhas, our lovely reporter Usagi went down to check it out and perhaps eat a fish that eats people.

Read More

Nara Noodle Shop’s Revolutionary and Fun Way to Eat Udon From a Draw String Bag!

As fall turns into winter, Japanese people look to food such as hot noodle dishes as a tasty way to warm up.  Udon noodles, in particular, are great during the winter, and nothing beats slurping up a steaming bowl of udon on a cold day.

We discovered a unique way to eat hot udon noodles at Mentouan, a noodle shop in Nara.  When you order a bowl of udon at Mentouan, you are presented with what appears to be a small pouch floating in broth…but you can’t see the noodles!

Following his report of Kyoto’s gigantic one-noodle udon, our resident foodie Kuzo went to Mentouan to try this “invisible udon” for himself. Read More

TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

Read More

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,199 other followers