Day 12: Horyuji by day, Umeda by night

We started off the day… well the afternoon by heading out to Nara to visit Horyuji temple. Horyuji is pretty special because it houses some of the world’s oldest surviving wooden structures. It’s a piece of Japan from the 7th century (and 8th, and 9th, and so on). Our ticket seemed quite expensive at 1000 yen (roughly ten dollars). Turns out the ticket actually covered entrance to three temples at the Horyuji grounds.

Japanese temples have fire issues. Over the centuries most of them burned down and were rebuilt, Hyoruji is no exception. There are still parts of the temple complex that date back to the Asuka Period (6th to early 8th centuries), but other parts of it have been rebuilt through the centuries. The rebuilt sections are still pretty old, with the exception of one hall that burned in the 40’s… it was rebuilt as a museum rather than a tempe hall.

Not a lot to report about these temples and relics, other than they were really old. It’s also the only temple complex we have been to so far that Robyn had never been to before. So she was excited to see all the new (old) buildings and relics. I’m teetering on the edge of temple overdose, but I’m also into history so it’s cool to learn about Japanese history. Most of the temples we have visited are places that mix tourism and active worship. Overall there is a balance struck because typically no pictures are allowed at the spots where people do the majority of praying.

We ended up with a good balance between old and new today. After getting back to Osaka we walked over to Umeda district and found a hole-in-the-wall yakitori place. Yakitori is basically grilled meat on a stick, and it’s not the same as our previous dinners of fried meat on a stick. Not really good for taking pictures because they bring it out to you 2 sticks at a time and they did not last very long off the grill.

After dinner Robyn wanted to hit a *real* pachinko parlor. So we found one that was not scummy looking and headed in. It was probably the most annoying assault of sound I have heard since I was on the flight deck of the USS Eisenhower during flight operations. Ok, so it was the most annoying sound since hearing jet aircraft try to land on a carrier deck. An attendant helped Robyn to a machine, showed her where to feed it a 1000 yen bill, and then pointed out where to aim the balls. I stood back and watched as several more workers came over and tried to show her how to tweak the knob to get the balls to land in the right spot. I don’t think we heard anything they said. Less than a minute later she used up all her balls and we got out of there very quickly.

We ended up going back to a Sega arcade called “Joyopolis” in the Hep Five building. We had been there a few nights ago and they have a nifty fingerprint reader that keeps track of how many tokens you have leftover. We picked up our tokens and went about playing games in the quieter, ear friendly game hall. Our favorite game there is “Monopoly”, but it’s really just one of those games where you aim coins on a rail then try to push other coins off the ledge. We had a really good time, ending the night with arcade slots, video games, and ice creme crepes.