Today’s plan was to further explore the park and temples in the surrounding area before heading back to Tokyo in the afternoon or evening. When we got up though it was raining hard which put us off the idea. We had booked a traditional breakfast for this morning so we decided to re-think our plans while we ate.
Much like yesterday’s kaiseki dinner, breakfast came as a series of small individual dishes. There weren’t as many courses as last night and although they didn’t come all at once they overlapped and some came out at the same time. We weren’t as inspired by the breakfast as we had been by dinner but I enjoyed most of it. In no particular order breakfast consisted of:
- 2 kinds of soup, one with wobbly jelly stuff floating in it and a burner underneath to keep it warm
- Salad with tuna and sweetcorn
- A grilled fish on the same kind of burner as yesterday. This was very difficult to eat as we couldn’t get any of the meat off the bones with chopsticks!
- Some rice porridge flavoured with fish
- Plain rice
- Yoghurt and fruit
After breakfast the view from our window was just as dispiriting as it had been before. Much like the interior of this hotel, the view from the window offers an interesting yet somewhat disquieting mixture of new and old, picturesque and ugly (depending on your personal definitions of these terms). You can see into the lovely courtyard which is overlooked by the dining room where we had dinner yesterday and breakfast today which has a fountain and a pond and lovely trees. In the distance you can see one of the temple pagodas and the trees of the park. Separating the two there is a shabby car park and a collection of derelict buildings.
We checked out and left our bags with the reception staff ans went out into the rain. It was still raining hard so we gave up on the idea of revisiting the park and went off in search of souvenirs. There are a lot of touristy shops in Nara and some sell much better items than others. We found a couple of very nice little craft shops and after spending a long time agonising about some lovely items that were way out of our price range, settled on some smaller and more sensibly priced keepsakes.
Once we were all shopped out and it still didn’t seem to be likely that the rain would stop, we collected our bags from the hotel and took a taxi to the station. It is important to remember that there are 2 stations in Nara and they aren’t that close together so you need to tell the driver that you want the JR station. We took the train back to Kyoto where it was once again freezing cold and sat on the platform shivering waiting for our connection to Tokyo.
For the next few days we are staying in the Washington Hotel, Akihabara which is very easy to find from Akihabara station (assuming you take the correct exit). We were very glad the hotel was so convenient as it was still raining and we were exhausted by the time we got there. The Washington Hotel had easily the best hotel room we had stayed in so far, almost as large as the one in Hiroshima but crucially much more modern and with all its fittings and appliances in working order. It does have possibly the worst view from any hotel we have had so far.
After a quick walk around in the rain, we grabbed dinner from a 7-11 and crashed back at the hotel.