Day 9: Himeji

Today we got up at the crack of dawn and headed to the train station. We easily reserved seats for our 3 trains and were on our way out of Hiroshima. We loved Hiroshima and felt we could have stayed longer, but sometimes its better while the going is good!

Heading out this morning it started raining.. again. It seems to rain when we have travel days which I guess is the best case since it doesn’t affect our site seeing!

Our first stop was Himeji, about an hour from Hiroshima by bullet train. Unfortunately the only seats available were in the “silence car”. Folo wasn’t sure I’d be able to be silent the whole time.. haha. I really wasn’t but neither were other people. It mostly means there are no announcements for stops. That made me nervous though b/c I was worried we’d miss our stop. But no problems at all!

An old castle is the main attraction in Himeji. It basicall is a day trip for most people, so we felt it would be fine to do it in just a few hours before our next train. The castle was beautiful and imposing, but once inside the grounds there really wasn’t much there. It was mostly just empty rooms with the same few signs telling you to look at the gun racks and wall holes where rocks or boiling water was thrown from. But if we didn’t do it, we would have wondered if we missed out.

A joint ticket also got us admission to a wonderful garden next to the castle. We were running short on time and it started to rain again, so we had to whip through it a bit more than we would have liked. But it was still nice to see. And we loved the carp that were all over the ponds!Rushing back to the station to grab a bento box (a take away lunch basically) we picked up our bags from the lockers and made it to the second car of our bullet train! We are in love with the bullet trains. They are so fast! One went through the station while we were waiting and it sounded like an airplane taking off and just whips past so fast that you barely have time to notice it was there! I keep getting on them waiting for us to ‘take off’! Definately the preferred way to travel here.

We had an 11 minute stop over in Nagoya to change trains. Of course me the worry wort was scared we’d not find our train. But a really nice station attendant who I asked to direct us actually walked us to the train. The people really do go out of their way to help us out.

The ride up to Takayama (where we are now) was beautiful. A river was running beside the train for most of the ride and mountains surrounded us on all sides. But getting to Takayama wasn’t as nice.. It wasn’t quite as cute as some of the earlier towns, but after arriving and walking around a bit its growing on us.

Amazingly we had mexican food for dinner! As I looked in the guidebook for dinner options the first one listed was mexican. Of course I can’t pass that up. We planned to just get guac and chips and then go to a Japanese place. But the guac was so good that we decided to stay there. I had a burito which wasn’t quite what i thought but was very good nevertheless. Also sampled cheese quesadillas and folo got chili con carne! Yum Yum.

And the rain has followed us and being out without umbrellas made us head back to the hotel – with the hope to get the umbrellas. But we are glued to CNN. We don’t get tv in a lot of our guesthouses, so it’s nice to be able to catch up on world news. And as Paul says we are having ‘foot rest’ day! haha.

Tomorrow we’ll potter around and discover the town more and then head further into the mountains in the next day or so.
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