3 suns and one star...(well it felt like it)

Trip Start Jul 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Monday, August 6, 2012

Fact of the day 2....KFC is really popular here for Christmas dinner....!

Wow today was HOT. Like the hottest day yet. The news this morning promised rain, but the bright blue skies said otherwise this morning. Today we decided to head out of Osaka and head to Himeji, home of the White Heron Castle.

The first time we came to Japan we wizzed past it on the shinkansen and even from a distance it was imposing and impressive. In 2009 a major restoration project started to repair the roof and plaster work. The castle was built about 400 years ago and was showing cracks etc. It had survived many civil war, earthquake and bombing in WW2 that destroyed all of Himeji apart from the Castle.

So this morning of we went on the wee hotel bus to the train station, and hopped on the 10.20 'rapid' to Himeji. It was packed with young people heading out to the beach etc. Now the online timetable said it took max of an hour to get there. By midday we had changed train drivers and watched the carriages empty. We sat singing 'we're on the road to no where....' Lol.

Eventually, and we mean eveeeentttuuaaaly we got to Himeji. And it was HOT and EXTRA HUMID. Oh my.god that 20min stroll to the castle was torture. Neither of us have experienced heat or humidity like it lol.

The pay of was of course the castle. It was quite quiet today...a few tourists, a few locals and a few volunteers who work at the caste to meet and greet people. We had a nice chat with a retired chap who was very impressed with us working as civil servants lol.

We walked round the castle grounds and really enjoyed its untouched beauty. Unlike other Japanese castles Himeji is very close to how they would have looked internally as it has never been destroyed and rebuilt like so many others. The exhibition about the restoration was really interesting and our tattoos attracted a lot of attention from the older people working there. We also had to show them on a map EXACTLY where we were from hehe

After a couple of hours we decided it was time to go and to see what merchandise they might have. Jess was obessed with buying a sweet bread in a can they sold with Himeji motifs on it. We didn't get it as I think it would be foul.

We also found as we strolled the grounds that there were a number of Neko (cats) strays on the ground which in typical cat fashion attracted attention but remained aloof to the prospect of being manhandled in the heat.

We walked back to the castle and stopped on our way in a department store to buy a little food before travelling back to Osaka. Pretty much all dept stores here are the same as Selfridges in that they have food courts on the basement floors but generally have more options.
We picked up some Katsu type bits (bread crumb covered veg and meat) and headed into the station for the train.

This time rather than getting the local services we decided to get the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka as it would be quicker and still cost us nothing as its a JR train service.

We hopped on the Shinkansen and were back in Osaka in no time (about 30 minutes). We got off the train and had planned to go back to the hotel but decided we would look at the Tokyu Hands store and Uni Qlo instead. By the time we had finished doing this, New t-shirts heavier it was about 6:30 and we noticed the driving rain outside. So rather than head back out and get soaked we decided to head back to the hotel with a bento and spend he evening relaxing in our room nursing our tired feet and sunburn :'(

It's now about 9:30 and we are watching some dodgy Japanese drama set on a boat full of murder and intrigue.

Tata for now.
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