Trip Start Sep 22, 2005
Trip End Jan 12, 2006

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Flag of Japan  ,
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We spent a couple of days making our way towards the next big city, Takamatsu. One thing I wasn`t aware of was the sheer number of things to see along the way. A lot of them are temples and shrines but those are very interesting in Japan, each unique and beautiful in their own way. As we rode along we passed innumerable signs pointing us in different directions to see the multitude of sights. Unfortunately we don`t have time for everything. But when we can we often stop to check out another of the 88 temples.

Takamatsu is a bustling little port city with a lot of things to see and do. It actually made us quite sad when we moved on because there was still so much to see. There are literally hundreds of islands between Takamatsu and mainland Japan and most of them have something to see. The most appealing were an art museum that was also devoted to a famous Japanese architect and another island called Demon Island where a famous mythical Japanese hero supposedly battled a demon in the caves of the island. You can actually walk around the dark caves and see many paintings and statues created about the incident. Sounds cool, huh? We see neither of these.

Instead we went to Ritsurin Park, which we ended up spending four hours at because it was so amazing. It was a garden created for the lord of Takamatsu back in the 1700`s. It was sprawling with waterfalls and teahouses to be found on it`s grounds. Sarah`s favorite thing was when she was attacked by turtles over a stick of bread that she bought. An army of turtles descended on her. Impressive, to say the least.

The other thing that we saw was Yashima plateau. It`s a tall mountain plateau with one of the 88 temples right on top. We couldn`t ride our bikes up to the top though so we parked them and spent time trying to find a sky tram that supposedly existed and would take you to the top. We couldn`t find it but eventually a nice lady named Ayako offered us a ride to the top which we gladly took. The views from the top were amazing but eventually we found ourselves in a little predicament. It started to get dark (seriously, this problem happens to us ALL THE TIME!) and the sky tram, when we found it, looked like it had been run down for years! So we ended up walking down in the dark but the sunset views were terrific.

We stayed at a youth hostel called Sakika, and even after just a couple of days it was a luxury we were both looking forward to. The hostels in Japan are a little more expensive than they are in the states. Sakika ended up being $38 per person but when we saw the room we couldn`t have been happier. It had a western style room, a large japanese style bath and then an adjoining room that was japanese style with a balcony. It was perfect. And trust me, if you`ve never experienced a japanese style bath followed by going to sleep on a futon layed out on tatami mats you haven`t truly lived. I don`t think there`s anything quite as comfortable.

I should also mention that the prefecture that we were in was famous for a certain food product called sanuki udon. Udon is a thick wheat noodle the japanese make that`s absolutely delicious. So of course Sarah and I were very excited to try some sanuki udon. Most shops in the prefecture actually make the noodles right there in front of you. It was absolutely delicious.
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