New Year’s in Kyoto

Jan 1, 2017

New Year’s Eve At Fushimi Inari

Celebrating New Year’s in Kyoto and specifically at Fushimi Inari temple is very different from the western idea of ringing in new year’s. It isn’t the crowds of drunk obnoxious people, yelling as they count down into the new year like Las Vegas, for example.

Instead it is almost completely the opposite. New Year’s Eve is a time for family, traditions and  abundant blessings.

We arrived at Fushimi Inari close to midnight. The crowds were large and growing. We could see the temple in the distance and families surrounded the front of the temple.


There were street vendors lining the walkway that led to the shrine. People were selling all types of goodies, from sweet to savory.  There were strawberries dipped and hardened in a glass red candy shell, yakisoba and roasted nuts in a bag to name a few.


Fushimi Inari was packed. We heard one pop of a small firework, which definitely wasn’t from a local.

2017 has commenced! We were one of the few yelling and jumping with excitement! What a blessing it was to be welcoming in the new year in Kyoto! Hell ya!

We got sake from a convenient store, sold in a glass cup, had it heated and it was perfect. We drank under a tented area with the locals. An elderly Japanese man tried to talk to us and I desperately tried using my google translate with only a little success. Everyone was friendly having a great time conversing, eating and drinking.

New, New Year’s Traditions

It was my first time walking through the tori polls in almost complete darkness with only the dimly lit lanterns guiding the way.

We waited for the crowds to die down, then took part in the Japanese tradition of ringing bells and offering our prayers for a fruitful new year, as well as paying our respect for this amazing experience.

We shook a jar full of sticks, got a bit confused, then figured out that it basically led to a specific fortune.

Next you fold your fortune and tie it to a string that is place next to a temple.

There were also thousands and thousands of beautiful folded paper cranes hanging on the walls.

Onto Kiyomizu Temple

The  friendly locals pointed us to Kiyomizu temple to watch the first sun rise of the New Year. It is Japanese tradition to stay up and witness the sunrise on this day, so we had to do it! It was a real struggle for Villn but he did it!

We hopped in a taxi and headed there, eager to see the first sunrise of 2017.  I was too excited to be tired.

The Kiyomizu temple at night is a absolutely stunning!

The temples were literally glowing. So pretty! We walked around admiring the different shrines.

First Sunrise Of The New Year

Finally it was time to witness the first sunrise of the New Year.  We sat and waited patiently for the sun to rise. We sat facing a mountain with clouds hovering above.

When the sun rose and lit up the sky, we could feel the blessings of the new year. What an amazing experience! It was a perfect way to begin our first New Year’s together in a different country.

After witnessing out first new years sunrise, we walked around and explored more of the temples in the area.

Villn found his lucky rabbit.

Kyoto is hands down a beautiful, one of a kind place to welcome in the New Year. Filled with traditions, beauty and zen, these pictures don’t do it justice!

I would definitely recommending experiencing New Year’s in Japan, especially in Kyoto. There is something very special about witnessing and taking part in another’s culture during this time of year. It is by far my best New Year’s experience.

Need other ideas on what to do in Japan? Check out Nara, you can feed sacred deer here. If you want to watch a fun creative travel video from Hakone, Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo click the link.

 Thanks for reading! Please comment below with any questions or comments -Val Pal

Glamping, Zion and Hikes

October 2017 I hope you enjoyed the Glamping, Zion and Hikes video I made!  I went for my friend Jasmin’s bachelorette celebration and it was the best bachelorette party ever! UNDER CANVAS GLAMPING This was my first time glamping and it was a memorable experience. We flew into Las Vegas, rented a van and drove …


July 2017

Our weekend getaway to Ojai was completely rejuvenating. With less than a two hour drive from Los Angeles, it is a hidden gem, filled with history, healing natural hot springs and a great eco-friendly community.  Farmers markets, hikes, Rose Valley Falls and Los Padres National Park can also be found in Ojai.

History of Ojai

Ojai was named after the Indian term meaning “Moon.” The Chumash Native Americans originally inhabited the area. Today, the community is comprised of organic farmers and people dedicated to healthy living. It is known as sacred land as well as for its crops such as oranges, olive oil and wine.

Farmers Market

They have farmers markets mainly on Sundays, which sell fresh fruits and veggies, local jam, walnut/olive oil and more. We tried their fresh sprouts, ate them raw with some hummus and chips, which was delicious!


We decided to stay at an AirBnb.  The house was beautiful, very welcoming, bright and cozy. We had a private room with a shared bathroom. Very clean and accommodating. There was also a pool, jacuzzi and tv outside on the patio, yes!

Los Padres National Park

Rose Valley Falls can be found in the Los Padres National park and is covered with lush moss. It reminded me a bit of Oneonta Gorge in Oregon. This 300-foot waterfall is located on the west end of the Topatopa Mountains of the national park. Although there wasn’t a lot of water gushing from the falls, it was still, very serene and beautiful to experience. It was a short easy hike to the falls, about 20 minutes more or less. I felt the misty water from the falls, fall onto my face and skin, which was refreshing after soaking in the hot springs.

Ecotopia Natural Hot Springs

Ecotopia natural hot springs are said to have healing powers. If you are lucky enough to find this hidden gem, be sure to explore the community sustainable gardens.  The scent of eggs filled the air, that distinct sulphur smell. This scent was much more potent than the blue lagoon in Iceland. The different pools ranged in temperature, from hot to warm.

A cold creek flowed nearby, surrounded by trees.  Dipping back and forth from the hot to the cold was both invigorating and relaxing.  At the end of the creek was a small waterfall, which provided the zen sound of running, flowing, healing water.

Also don’t be alarmed but there may be naked people at the springs as swimsuits are optional.


If you are in the area be sure to check out Hip Vegan for some delicious vegan food!

This bomb BBQ coconut bacon vegan burger was so tasty!! One of the best vegan burgers i’ve ever had!

The vegan reuben sandwich was busting with flavor despite its lack of color lol. One of the best vegan reuben sandwiches as well!

The South Indian Dal soup was also bursting with texture and flavor. This place does really good with making my taste buds dance, so good!

For dessert, this vegan vanilla ice cream affogato topped with cacao nibs was absolutely divine! So we ordered a second one, fattys! lol!  All the food that we tried here was amazing!! This doesn’t happen all the time so we were so happy this place exist! A perfect touch for Ojai!

*Be sure to check them out on Yelp or give them a call firs. I recently heard they are temporarily closed as of now.

Thanks for reading and watching, if you haven’t yet please subscribe to my blog and to my YouTube channel. Thanks for your support!


Vegan By Nature: Vegan Camp Food

Hello all! Welcome to Vegan By Nature, my first episode cooking in nature.  This vlog was filmed in the beautiful Sequoia National Forest in California. Camp food doesn’t have to be unhealthy.  Here is a vlog showing you some recipes on how to make vegan camp food. So pack your tent and don’t forget these ingredients!

Vegan Breakfast Avocado Quesadillas


  • Organic Corn Tortillas
  • Vegan Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s ( recommended because it actually melts)
  • Avocados
  • Hot sauce of choice


Heat corn tortillas on both sides, add in vegan cheese, allow to slightly melt and add in cut up avocados. Eat with hot sauce if you like.

Vegan Sausage Hash


  • Vegan Spinach Pesto Tofurky Sausage ( buy at some Ralph’s, Sprouts or Whole Foods)
  • chopped onions
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped bell peppers
  • chopped potatoes or sweet potatoes


  • Nutritional Yeast ( adds nutty flavor, can get from Sprouts or Whole Foods)
  • Vegetarian Mushroom Flavored Stir Fry Sauce (Asian Store lol)
  • Bragg Amino Acid
  • Pepper
  • Optional Squeeze of lemon


Over medium heat, cook the potatoes first ( don’t follow what we did in the video lol). When slightly soft add in garlic, onions and bell pepper. Cut up the sausage and add in.  As far as how much to add with the flavoring, we always just eyeball it.  If you that doesn’t help add less, then you can always add more. The Bragg Amino Acid is salty so just a few drops.

Amy’s Organic Vegan Chili From A Can


  • 1 can of Amy’s Vegan Chili (from Sprouts or Whole Foods)
  • Sprinkle of Vegan Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s ( or any other vegan cheese)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Optional: Chips or Bread
  • Optional: Beyond Beef ( We forgot to bring it but would have totally added it in)


Mix it all together over medium heat and eat plain or with chips or bread. Taah-Daah! Super simple and easy!

VEGAN SMORES (not featured on vlog)


  • Vegan marshmallows ( from Trader Joes or Whole Foods)  *marshmallows aren’t vegan because they contain gelatin, which is derived from collagen from various animal body parts…betcha didn’t know that huh)
  • Vegan Graham Crackers, I use S’moreables from Whole foods because they are also gluten-free, you can get any that don’t have honey
  • Vegan Dark Chocolate (Trader Joes or Whole Foods)


hMake them just like normal Smores, have fun! The Smores taste just the same, or actually even better because no animals were harmed hooray!

Hope this helps with veganizing your camping meals. Please comment below with any questions or comments and subscribe to my Youtube channel Loving and Alive

Thanks for watching and reading!

-Val Pal


A Taste of Ireland: Vegan Irish Food

Here is a vlog on some of the vegan Irish food I was able to try while in Dublin and Kilkenny.  I really enjoyed the potato cauliflower lentil cake, it was tasty and filling! The Irish coffee was a fun drink to try as well.

On this trip we definitely missed asian food.  So we were happy to find Nore Asian Street Food in Kilkenny Ireland. Sadly it isn’t featured on this vlog, I think we were too hungry to take footage LOL. They were able to veganize just about any of their dishes.  We got the vegetable curry which was packed with flavor! Hope you enjoy the video!

Please subscribe to my youtube channel!   ——> Loving and Alive Youtube Channel


Roadtrip To The Cliffs Of Moher

Hi everyone! I’m having a lot of fun editing videos and making vlogs, so here’s another one! Hope you enjoy this short video of our road trip from Kilkenny to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. It took about 3 hours one way.

The roadtrip was definitely an experience riding on the opposite side of the road! Pretty scary at times too, but all worth it! The cliffs were absolutely breathtaking!


Please click “like” and subscribe to my youtube channel for more. THANKS SO MUCH! – VAL PAL

Sneak Peak Inside The Guinness Storehouse Factory

Here is my sneak-peak vLog inside the Guinness Storehouse factory! I had a lot more fun than I imagined .The tour was very informative about the whole brewing process of Guinness and was definitely a 5 sense experience. It gave me a deeper appreciation of the traditional Irish stout beer.

If you are in Dublin, Ireland or planning a trip there, be sure to check it out!

Book your tickets in advance as it can get packed.
Sláinte! (CHEERS!)


Please comment, like and subscribe to my youtube channel


7 Ways To Avoid Travel Disasters

CONSIDER THIS SCENARIO You have been planning an international trip with your friend over the course of months and the thought of travel disasters never even crossed your mind. You both bought your plane tickets and also booked all your accommodations.  You’ve rented a car in advance too. The excitement is real! Now the both …

Vegan Bgirls at the Vegan Street Fair 2017

The Vegan Bgirls (Val Pal, Logistx, Mae Day) were thankful to be invited as VIPS to the Vegan Street Fair 2017 in North Hollywood! I hope you enjoy the video I created that captures some yummy food and us getting down for the animals. Special featuring @villnlor and @mpact_lor ENJOY! I’m having a lot of fun …

7 Things To Do In Kilkenny, Ireland

July 2018 What is Kilkenny known for? Kilkenny is best known as Ireland’s medieval capital. It is also home to one of the oldest castles in Ireland as well as producing some of Irelands finest beers. Smithwicks Red Ale was one of my favs! Where is Kilkenny located? Kilkenny is located in southeast, Ireland. It …

My Icelandic Vegan Food Experience

July 2017 ICELANDIC VEGAN FOOD During our 16-hour layover in Iceland (check it out if you haven’t already), Villn and I were excited to check out the Icelandic vegan food. We got to check out two places that served vegan food. Kaffi Vinyl served all vegan food and Ramen Momo had vegan options.  I also saw …


Enjoy our creative travel video using “THE CLAW” to take us around Iceland for our layover

July 2017


On route to Dublin, Ireland, Villn (my man) and I were blessed with a 16 hour Iceland layover. We decided to make the most of our layover, which included exploring the city of Reykjavik, searching for vegan food and of course the infamous Blue Lagoon.

Wow Air heading to iceland

Wow airline is only 6 years old and it serves 33 destinations across Europe, North America and Asia.

Wow airlines offer round-trip, affordable, nonstop flights to Iceland from many cities. These include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C, Toronto (Canada) and Montreal (Canada). If you are headed to another city in Europe using Wow airlines, you will most likely have an Iceland layover.


Yes I enjoyed the view

This airline offers low fare affordable ticket prices but the catch is you can carry only one small personal belonging onto the plane for free (backpack, laptop bag etc.). Any extra carry on and you must pay a fee. Depending on where you are flying from the rates may differ; CLICK HERE for more info on Wow airline baggage fees.


Inside Wow airplane

If you plan on taking an extra carry on with the paid fee, make sure your luggage fits the size chart. CLICK HERE for more info. They actually check to make sure it fits into a mock luggage holder before boarding the plane. If it passes the test they will tag your bag, and if not, you have to pay an extra fee to check it in. So remember, size does matter.


Unless you purchase it, sucks, yea I know.

no complimentary food or snack

Another way they get you is on beverages and snacks/food. Unlike some other airlines, there are NO complimentary beverages or snacks. I suggest bringing your own snacks or getting something at the airport prior to your flight.

However, even with all the extra fees I feel it’s still worth it to have a nonstop flight to Iceland.


We arrived into Keflavik airport at 1:35pm. Everything reminded me of IKEA. The wooden floors, the ambiance, the food, pretty much everything lol.


We wanted to maximize our layover so prior to our trip we reserved a car from

I would suggest booking the car in advance especially with the tight schedule, and to double check if the car you selected is manual or automatic. Heads up, automatics are more expensive.

Our rental car for our iceland layover

Get full coverage (insurance); you never know what might happen so its better to be safe than sorry. Also, in Europe you need a credit card to rent a car (a debit card does not work).


Headed to Reykjavik, Iceland

From Keflavik airport to the main city Reykjavik is about a 40 minute car drive. Our first destination was to grab some food! We were hungry!

roadtrip scenery on route to Reykjavik, Iceland

Using my Happy Cow app we found a place called Kaffi Vinyl that serves vegan food! Woo hoo! (All smiles)

We parked our car on the side of the street and paid meter parking. We had no idea how much it was because it was in Icelandic, so we just used my debit card and hoped it worked and it did! LOL


Kaffi Vinyl Vegan Cafe

Kaffi Vinyl was a dope spot! It’s the first vegan kitchen in Reykjavik and has a live DJ and good vibes.

Inside Kaffi Vinyl

I ended up ordering the lasagna, which came with garlic bread and a side salad.

Vegan Lasagna

Villn got the Tama Thai noodles made with peanuts and cashew nuts. SO DELICIOUS!

Tama Thai Noodles

We also ordered a Macchiato and a latte.

Our yummy coffees

Total bill for this was $55. OMG, Iceland you are so freakin expensive!

*Click for more on my Iceland vegan food experience


After our vegan lunch we decided to take a walk and explore things randomly. The Icelandic coast lured us in.

Icelandic Coast

We came across a sculpture that was along the north coast shore and contemplated on what it was.

Maybe a Viking ship? Or maybe bones of a whale? We had no idea but continued to take pictures with it HAHA.

It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I began to research it and this is what I found…

“Sólfarið, or The Sun Voyager, is an iconic statue along the seaside of Reykjavík unveiled to mark the 200th birthday of the city of Reykjavík on August 18, 1990. Designed by artist Jón Gunnar, the statue is built of stainless steel and is the artist’s interpretation of a dreamboat and ode to the sun. Jón’s intention was to give the city something that inspired dreams and imagination and symbolizes light and hope. It is not, as some think, a Viking ship. “

Not a Viking Ship

So it wasn’t a Viking ship or whale bones. Still, pretty cool to check out. The cold Icelandic breeze made my nose numb, totally snuggle weather.


We had some time to kill before our appointment at the Blue lagoon, so we explored the streets and shops of Reykjavik.

Colorful building in Reykjavik

There was street art on almost every wall we passed. Bright and colorful, it really caught our eyes.

Street Art of Reykjavik, Iceland

We had more fun admiring the street art than checking out the shops lol.

Chillin with the Vikings

Aren’t these vikings the cutest?

Villa's spirit animal

Villn exchanging energy with his spirit animal.

werewolf street art

The street art in Iceland is amazing!

cute panda covering construction

The wall art to help distract from the ugly constructions haha.

Building covered with art

This building was one of Villn’s favs.

Gorilla with googly eyes love it!


This gorilla was dope since he has googly eyes! Must be an OT thing LOL, it makes everything more alive. Can you spot them?


Helpful Hint: Pre-booking is required if you plan on visiting the Blue Lagoon. CLICK HERE for the Blue Lagoon website.

Four different packages are available, from Standard to Luxury. Villn and I got the most basic one which is Standard and includes entrance fee and Silica mud mask. Price for one adult is 6100 ISK or $58. Towels are not included in this price.

Blue Lagoon sign at entrance

Our scheduled time was 10 pm, which was nice because visiting the Blue Lagoon later in the day = less people. Due to the overcast and midnight sun (during summer time the sun doesn’t set) it didn’t start getting dark until well after 11pm. Maybe without the overcast we’d be able to see the sun.

Upon arrival they give you a bracelet that locks and unlocks your locker. Men and women are in separate locker rooms.

You must take off your shoes before entering the locker room and leave it amidst all the other piles of shoes (don’t forget to pick your shoes back up when you leave, I totally forgot HAHA).


Before entering the lagoon you must shower completely naked (this is the same for all other geothermal pools in Iceland), there are private stalls with shampoo and conditioner. They also suggest putting conditioner in your hair to keep it from getting super salty from the lagoon.


AHHHH!! I couldn’t believe we were here! The contrast in temperature from the outside air makes you want to just scurry to the lagoon and jump right in.

The difference in temperature was pretty drastic considering it was “summer”. This was a perfect example of Ice (the air) and fire (the lagoon).


I could see the steam rising above the still lagoon water and into the air that created a dream-like atmosphere. I watched as other visitors took selfie’s with their group and even enjoyed a drink.

From the looks on everyone’s faces I could tell they were just as happy to be at the Blue Lagoon as I was.

The  light chatter of personal conversations filled the air.

There was a sense of light-heartedness, the energy was both of excitement and relaxation.


Blue Lagoon at 10pm

The sulphur smell wasn’t bad at all; I’ve smelled worse lol. I would describe the smell as a mixture of fart and eggs but on the tamer side HAHA. The surrounding area of the Blue Lagoon smelled way worse than actually being in the lagoon.

Healing water of the Blue Lagoon

The warm blue green healing water kissed my skin as I found a comfy spot along the rocks to sit and soak in. My muscles relaxed as did my mind. It was as if all the travel planning curveballs I’ve experienced prior to this trip just didn’t matter anymore.

Is this a dream?

The faint memory of all the stress and anxiety melted away just like that. The serene water was healing my mind and body instantly; so grateful to experience this moment.


Villn and I LOVE LOVE LOVE hot springs, jacuzzi’s, hot hot showers and geothermal pools, so we were basically in hot heaven. Nature’s jacuzzi’s are thee best. (Having Blue Lagoon withdrawals as I typed this right now).

Villn and Val Pal in the Blue Lagoon

The lagoon was a lot bigger than I originally thought. There were areas that led to smaller private areas and areas that opened up after walking under a bridge.

Some spots were cooler and others hotter. As soon as we felt the hotter water touch our legs we gravitated toward it. We coined the hot spots as our favorite spots.

The water surrounding this box is the HOT spots

HINT: The hot areas are around these wooden boxes (I think they help pump out the hot water).


The fountain under a bridge offered fresh Icelandic drinking water, which was cold, crisp and refreshing!


The silica mud mask was surprisingly white. The benefits of this mask is said to have curative and skin healing properties.

Apparently, when the geothermal seawater cools, it becomes supersaturated with silicon and long chains of silicon molecules are formed that eventually precipitates out of the water and form the white mud.

making scary faces with the mud mask

We lathered it all over our face, made scary faces at each other and kept it on for about 10 minutes. We chilled in the lagoon looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost, then washed it off.

BOO! Villn getting scary in his mud mask

It did make my skin feel soft right after rinsing it off, but then the salty lagoon water began to make my skin feel dry. I guess that’s why they recommend getting the algae facemask as well which is an extra cost. (No thanks, I’ll save that for my food =P)

We enjoyed the lagoon until closing time, which was 12:30am. The lockers close at 1 am.

Amazing iceland layover

I got to shower and use the Icelandic shampoo and conditioner, which was awesome considering they sell that stuff in their store. Then I got to head back to the airport so fresh and squeaky clean.

Overall, this layover is by far the most eventful, relaxing and memorable layover I have ever had. Having the opportunity to explore a bit of the city of Reykjavik, get a taste of their vegan food and soak in the Blue Lagoon was definitely a teaser!

I will be back for you one day, Iceland, and when I do I will explore your beautiful waterfalls, icebergs, geysers and landscapes in a camper!

Thank you for reading and please comment below with any comments or questions  – VAL PAL












A Day Trip to Nara Japan: Sacred Deer & Todaji Temple

January 2017

Did you know there are freely roaming sacred deer in Japan that you can feed?!  Once I found out that such a thing existed I was sure to add that to my Japan itinerary.

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, bordering Kyoto Prefecture.


It is an easy one-day trip if you are coming from Kyoto or other nearby cities in Japan.

Map from Kyoto to Nara

From Kyoto you would use your JR rail pass and take the JR line. It is 45 minutes by express (Kaisoku) or 70 minutes by local (Futsu) and departs from JR Kyoto Station in Kyoto and arrives at JR Nara Station in Nara.

If you don’t have a JR rail pass the Kintetsu is the fastest and most comfortable way to get there. Just be sure to take a direct express (Tokkyu).

CLICK HERE for more in-depth info on how to get to Nara.


Nara Station

Staircase at Nara Station

Once you arrive at the Nara station, take a bus to Nara Park.   There are signs and you can ask people for directions in case you are confused.

We didn’t know which stop to get off at but once you are headed to Nara Park you will begin to see deer in the surrounding park. So we got off when it felt right HAHA.

Our intuition was right; there were food vendors nearby and people selling deer biscuits in the park.

The deer biscuits are 150 yen ($1.20) per pack.

Food vendors at Nara Park

Food vendors at Nara Park (Photo by: Perry)


The Sika deer in Nara are considered sacred because of their significance in the Shinto religion. Legend has it that the Gods of the grand shrine have been sending messengers to watch over the city in the form of Sika deer ever since.

These deer are highly protected under law and flourish due to the tourists buying “deer biscuits” and feeding them.

Sacred Deer

Bambi waiting for her treat (Photo by Perry)


I highly suggest you arrive early, which may work out in your favor. My reason for this is because when it gets closer to the evening all the deer are so full from all the people feeding them lol! So get there when the deer are hungry.

I tried feeding the deer again later in the day after exploring Todaji temple and they just turned their head away totally uninterested. So funny!

feeding the deer

Feeding the hungry deer


It was such a cool experience to see all the deer freely roaming around the park in harmony with humans. None of them were chained up or in an enclosed cage or anything, just totally free.

Villn and I walked around and observed people feeding the deer first. Some would swarm a person once the deer knew they had food.

There were deer that were much more aggressive and would try to steal the food right out of your hand. Other deer would try to nibble and yank at your clothes telling you, “Hurry up! I’m hungry!”


Be aware of your goodies

So we devised a plan, to buy the biscuits and hide them in our pockets and fed them one at a time. Well, that didn’t really work.

There was a moment when I was watching Villn feed a deer and another deer straight up went behind Villn, put his head under his backpack and rammed him in the butt LOL! Hilarious!

We found that most of the deer have learned to bow to you before giving them a treat. Super cute to watch these deer bow!

Also, when you are “all done” with your biscuits, you shake both hands in front of the deer, so they clearly see you have no more food and they will move on.

some are friendly

Some were friendly enough to pet

We met up with our friend Perry from college who was in Japan the same time we were. I witnessed him feed a deer while holding the biscuit in his mouth and attempted this later.

 feed by mouth

Perry showing off his skills 

Too bad all the deer were too full by the time I built up the courage to try.


After feeding the deer we took a sake break.  We ordered hot sake in a glass cup where they peel open the aluminum top and heat it up for you. It was the first time I sipped on sake as if it was hot tea while roaming the park.

I clearly remember enjoying the hot sake going down my throat while being in the chilly park all bundled up. The sake was warm and so smooth! We chilled near a stream, shot some footage for our creative travel video and watched the deer nearby.

hot sake in the park

Hot Sake in the park, best idea ever!


The Todaji temple was built in the year 743 and has the world’s largest gilded bronze Buddha at 49 feet high. It is housed in an all-wood building, which is 157 feet high, making it the largest wooden building in the world.

Todaji temple

Biggest wooden temple in the world!

Drinkable blessed water was available as you entered the temple area. The blessed water was ery cold and refreshing.

blessing water

Taking a sip of the drinkable blessing water

The temple had a large pillar with a hole in it. Based on cultural belief if you can crawl through the hole, which is supposed to be equivalent in size as the Buddha’s nostril, then you will blessed with health and happiness.

Buddha in Todaji

Buddha looked way bigger in person

I was able to slide through the hole, while my friend Perry who is taller than Villn,  almost got stuck! It was so funny! I was about to help pull him out!

When we thought all hope was lost, Perry finally, somehow managed to get through. It was as if we were witnessing him being born again, as he pushed and wiggled his way out of the hole HAHA. He definitely worked for his blessing!


 Our day trip to Nara was interactive, memorable and overall a fun experience! I will never forget feeding and watching the deer roam around the park. They are beautiful creatures that I feel everyone visiting Japan should experience. Being able to live in harmony with other creatures is so beautiful to witness.

Deer in the crowds

Deer in the crowds (Photo by Perry)

There was also a lesson to be learned while we were there. Nara proved that it is possible to coexist with other creatures without harming them or caging them up. So go bow to and feed the deer in Nara, I’m sure they’d be happy you came

-Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my creative travel video Japan Edition! – Val Pal



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