Within Nara park there are clusters of shops and restaurants, I assume once these were villages of farmers or people supported by the temples. Now they shops and restaurants, one such shop near the park hill houses a very cool and complicated looking automated machine. This contraption produces a constant stream of hot delicious cakes, Manju cakes, a sweet snack with a cake like exterior and a gooey filling. I have seen these cakes in many places in Asia, they vary in shape and filling from place to place, in Nara deer shaped Manju cakes are all the rage, the white bean and milk filling was incredible! Certainly more exciting than the traditional red bean.
Having seen a stall near the 5 story pagoda I had hoped the round warm cake thingies they sold were also Manju cakes, but made in a stall rather than with a machine, alas no they were just warm bite sized sponge cakes.
They were not as good as these doughnuts bought from a shop in town, the nobbly one had a sugar glaze and a great chew. The purple dusting on the other one is sweet potato, not that the flavour carries through.
A few opportunistically grabbed quick bites, around town included these two jelly dessert snacks, they have the same texture as things set with agar agar. I really have no idea what these things are, but they are great. I wish I could have captured the pleased expression on the shop keepers face when we bought these, the shop looked great, it took all of my Japanese, and some help to try and tell him.