Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Japan  ,
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Made the most of the late checkout at the Aster Plaza before leaving. We liked Hiroshima and so wanted to stay there the weekend but the Plaza was fully booked on the Saturday. Bummer! But we will however be returning there on Sunday.

We couldn't be assed to walk far so we phoned the nearest hotel in the Rough Guide, the Dormy Inn. Unfortunately this hotel was 5000 yen a night, 2000 more than we had needed to spend so far. At least this place had no curfew.

We were in need of some internet access so headed off to locate one from a map obtained from the plaza. It was nearby our hotel and we spent a good couple of hours catching up. Free soft drinks as well, which was nice.

At about 1:30 we boarded the train to Himeji. It was the bloody Kodoma train again and took 2 hours to get there. We were starting to panic on the train as the castle was closing at 4pm!

On arriving at Himeji we had to power walk our way 1.5km up hill all the way to the castle and arrived with about 15 minutes to go before closing. The castle itself was pretty impressive from the outside and with all the defensive positions you can see why no one ever managed to storm the castle.

Inside was rather empty. 6 floors of relatively nothing but everyone really goes there for the view from the top. However getting to the 6th floor was a mission in itself!

Once inside the castle you are required to remove your shoes and proceed wearing slippers. They all seemed to be about the same size, about a 3, and had to basically shuffle around. We then had to climb 6 flights of near vertical stairs with tiny headroom and this all in 30C+ heat. Everyone was knackered!

We left just before 5pm when we were told to leave. Felt sorry for the people standing around outside looking bemused at why they couldn't be let in, secretly laughing on the inside.

As we were walking back to the station there was a mass gathering that I guessed was related to tomorrows election. Loads of people waving flags and some guys shouting empowered speeches to the mass crowd, they seemed to enjoy it. I heard money being mentioned, probably empty promises like in the UK.

Got the Hikari train back to Hiroshima and had to endure the smoking carriage of death for about an hour. Either way it beat getting the slow Kodoma train again!

Went to check out our new hotel in Hiroshima, pretty much the same as the last one, just more money and a better central location. Also had BBC World which was a bonus.

Went to an Irish pub from the bible. Was pretty good and served decent food at reasonable prices, Jamesons chicken was very nice. Only went there on the off chance of seeing the footie but they showed the German league instead so we headed back to the Internet cafe for a good few hours to make some phone calls and catch up on this diary.
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