Utazu Grand Hotel
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Today was a bit of a spare day, due to Nara being a shorter trip than planned, so I decided to head to Okayama which is on the route towards my next hostels destination of Hiroshima. Similarly to Himeji, Okayama has a castle and a famous garden(one of the top 3 in all of Japan) so I spent the late morning and early afternoon pottering around these sights. These two were hidden gems that are mainly missed off tourist itineraries. The castle, known ...
... booked my next night to sleep.
For a change, this was a bit a different kind of hostel. It's very Japanese style, you sleep on tatami, breakfast is miso soup and rice. Guests are here from Holland, England, Australia and Japan.
I decided actually to stay here an extra day, it's great to be with a bunch of people, where you feel so welcome!
Tomorrow, I will ...
... lords and eventually took 100 years to complete in 1754. From that time till 1870, Ritsurin Garden was used as the Matsudaira Family's villa. It spanned 228 years and 11 successive generations.
We spent about 2 hours wandering through the Garden. Lots of ponds, bridges and tea houses. Unfortunately, we are about 2 to 3 weeks too early for the autumn leaves. ...
Before we caught the ferry back to Takamatsu, Takako and Owen led us to a rather unusual onsen or bath house. Unfortunately, tattoos seem to be the norm these days in the Western countries. In Japan, this is a sign of being in the Yakuza. Takako said that even if a female had the tiniest of tattoos, they would be disallowed into an onsen as she could be considered to be related in one form or another to the Yakuza. I ...
... Shinkansen Shinji
It contained one of the first Shinkansen engine carriages very different from the modern ones it that the front was more conventional with a snub nose not the sleek arrow shaped ones of today.
In the afternoon we visited the Ritsurin Gardens which are on the outskirts of Kyoto. We came atthe North entrance which is close to ...