Japan 2019 Day 6 - Omizutori Festival in NaraFeb 1, 2020 5 min read
Higobashi APA Hotel
5 hours of sleep 🥱
Is this window meant to open this wide?
Gonna pop downstairs to grab some breakfast from the konbini.
Wow, it’s just like my Yakuza games.
Dotonbori, the centre of the south half of Osaka.
Definitely the place to go if you’re visiting the city.
They’re debating whether using Strike Witches for military recruitment was appropriate lmao.
The blowfish in Sonic Racing Transformed was originally a puyo in the Japanese version.
These touts’ throats must be raw by the end of the day.
This place blasts out a playlist of takoyaki-themed songs such as these classics:
Takoyaki Song - Single ( たこやきのうた) Udaka Kaori & Tako Ball Kids
たこやきハレルヤ【高画質】 Takoyaki-Hallelujah 【ＨＤ】
If I have to get them stuck in my head so do you.
Why is there a vtuber on the billboard?
“Oh hey, a Tacobell. Never had that before.” *continues walking*
Namba Station Underground Mall
It was OK.
Can’t remember what I even ordered. I think the one on the left was crab patties?
Anyway, time to head to Nara.
人類史上最も不安になる音「JR天王寺 阪和線の入線音」 pic.twitter.com/bZttCUBHuY— 兵藤 (@ko_ma_) May 5, 2019
Outside the shopping district some guy was preaching about Jesus.
I was going to take a bus but I couldn’t figure out the schedule so I walked.
It was uphill all the way from the Nara train station to Nara Park 🙂🔫
[1 google session later]
There was a fire 300 years ago and it was only rebuilt a few months ago.
That explains why everything is so clean.
It used to be the family temple for the Fujiwara Clan who famously married their daughters into the imperial family, allowing them control into the Heian court for 200 years.
That tree looks like it’s going to fall one day.
Wow, I’m in a forest now.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Designated as a World Heritage Site, this is one of the more important shrines in Nara.
Kasuga Taisha is dedicated to the guardian deities of the city.
Those deities also watch over the Fujiwara clan who as you remember famouslymarriedtheirdaughtersintotheimperialfamilyallowingthemcontrolintotheHeiancourtfor200years.
“Got some crackers, mate?”
Might as well check this place out while I’m here.
The Omizutori ceremony doesn’t start till tonight anyway.
That gate is unnecessarily big.
It’s like they’re expecting elephants to come through or something.
Humans for scale.
Took me ages to walk across that courtyard lol.
The hall used to be bigger too before all the fires, earthquakes, wars, sabotage by rival sects etc.
Daibutsuden has been through a lot. The head of the Buddha statue even fell off at some point.
Why do I hear boss music?
I wasn’t originally planning to visit Nara if the Omizutori Festival wasn’t going on.
Thought I would be tired of cultural sight-seeing by now.
Todaiji is the city’s main attraction but it didn’t seem that exciting in photos.
I’ve seen tons of Buddhas after all but now, seeing it in person, I was blown away.
This seems to be a recurring theme on this blog…
wtf are those guys doing?
[1 Google session later]
That pillar on the left has a hole in it the size of the Buddha’s nostril.
If you can squeeze through it you’ll be granted enlightenment in your next life.
I wonder how often does a tourist gets stuck.
These aren’t my glasses.
“The stalls give the park such a fun vibe. All this food sure is making me hungry.”
Oh wait, that poster…
To think we were in the same spot but at a different point in time.
Nara is a pretty convenient city to visit.
All the interesting places are all smushed into the centre.
Mochiidono Shopping Arcade
World’s OKest mart
This street is one of the oldest in Nara.
It’s the perfect place to find traditional sweets and crafts.
Irozuku Sekai no Ashita Kara opening theme in Nara’s Mochiidono Shopping Arcade
Eating dinner at Wakakusa Curry tonight.
Wow, look at me. I’m eating a proper meal for once.
The house recommendation: 4 Curry in 1 Plate
Spinach curry, mild curry, lamb brown curry and chicken curry.
Topped with steamed vegetables and papad.
I didn’t like the lamb curry that much though.
I should’ve ordered some more toppings too. It was a pretty small dish.
Wish more restaurants had big “OUR RECOMMENDATION” stickers on their menu.
Unsurprisingly, a park is pretty dark at night 👻
Todai-ji has so many buildings other than the Buddha hall and they’re all so spread out.
Thankfully, I can just follow these guys because I don’t actually know the way.
Arrived just in time for the Omizutori ceremony to start.
Most of the festival is just for the priests. Only the ceremony at the end is of public interest.
Like, they do all these rituals where they can’t leave or speak for the whole period etc.
Something about how only during this time of the year the well underneath has water.
The Nigatsu-do Hall even gets its name from this time of the year.
The Gods are invited to come bless the water which can then cure illnesses and stuff.
The name Omizutori itself refers to this drawing of the well water.
It’s an annual festival that’s been going on for wellll over 1250 years.
When the festival is over it will be the start of the sakura blossoms.
The ceremony at the end of the festival is called Otaimatsu and lasts for 2 weeks.
It’s done every night but the number and size of torches varies.
The days at the end are extra spectacular where they take all the torches out at once.
Today is just one of the early days though.
Then the priest sprints across the balcony, showering embers over the public.
The burning embers bestow the public below with good luck and all that.
Aw yis, gimme that luck.
The torch is spun about, continuing to fling embers while the next priest starts their routine.
Occasionally the torch is smacked on the fence, like tapping the ash off a cigarette.
The sound of wood on wood echoes out in a really satisfying way.
This whole process was repeated 10 times.
The organizers were shouting “turn off your camera flashes please” throughout.
The crowd had a lot of elderly so I’m not sure they knew how to.
Also some kid with Asperger’s was having a fit at the back.
They smacked the last one extra hard causing a huge fireball to rain down.
*crowd oohs and sugois*
I thought they accidentally dropped the torch at first lol.
(It’s not this photo, I missed the last one)
It started raining half way. No, I didn’t bring an umbrella.
In Japan, you don’t thank the driver, the driver thanks you.
There were buses scheduled to take people back to the station.
I’m so glad I didn’t have to walk all the way back in the rain.
Got a hot chocolate for the trip back 😊
Just about ready to go to bed. Spent a lot of time on my feet today.
Like most days…
I was going to head back to the hotel but I recognised this exit.
…is a supermarket!
Central Square Life
Disappointed I didn’t see anyone fighting over the bento boxes.
Went to use the ATM before leaving and accidentally cut in front of someone.
I didn’t realise they were in the queue… 🙇♂️
Higobashi APA Hotel
- Almond Crush Pocky ✅
- Corn chocolates ✅✅✅
- Tropical fruit juice drink ✅
- C1000 Vitamin Lemon energy drink ✅
- Curry Cup Noodle ✅
- Pino ice cream ✅
- Strawberry tart ✅
- Dango ✅
- Late-night discounted tuna futomaki ✅
If I knew the corn chocolates were this good I would have bought more of them.
I ate like half the pack in 1 go and I never saw it for sale again.
This is the city centre but past Nara Park is basically all wild forest.
So practically, the centre is actually on the edge of the actual livable part of the city.
And holy shit, Lemon, nobody cares.