My first ever castle

Originally published on 31st March 2015 0n Blogger

Today we left Hiroshima early-ish and went to Himeji, a town about 250kms from here, or 1 hour on Shinkansen. I had read, and was told, Himeji Castle is one of the best to see in Japan. As the kids patience for historical buildings is wearing pretty thin, I thought I would chose just one, and I’m really glad it was this one. The main keep has been under restoration for some time, and was just completed 5 days ago. Between the reopening, and the cherry blossom, the crowds were crazy, the kids were shitty, but I got to walk through this amazing place, where many shoguns lived and the grand daughter of Tokugawa was a princess, married at 7 years old…. The wood, the doors, the plaster made from seaweed and ash, just amazing. Such a spectacular building.

After moving very slowly, in a queue of approximately 2 million other people, we made it through the six levels of the castle. Up and down the incredibly steep stairs…..Mya’s legs are jelly tonight. Over the road to a kind of open air market, with street food and carnival games. Okonomiyaki on a stick, with fried egg or melted cheese. Heaven. Corn cobs, marinated in light soy and barbequed over coals. Delicious. We enjoyed our food, and then, sadly started looking for a pharmacy, as one member of our party, who shall remain nameless, had brought along some friends from home…. In her hair.

Firstly, Japanese call nits “human fleas”…. Cute. Secondly, they have treatment that smells nice, doesn’t hurt your eyes, makes your hair soft AND KILLS NITS AND EGGS…. Why are we not privy to such technology? The enclosed comb was also easily the best nit comb I have ever seen!! Job done.

The advantage to bumbling around Himeji looking for a pharmacy, via Google maps was, The Hello Kitty Cafe. KAWAII….kawaii…..kawaii (cute). A nice milky matcha before the train home.

Get home to find that, for some reason, Mya is not allowed in the very bar we ate dinner in last night, to eat dinner tonight??? Being in a rather remote five star joint, options were limited. The Chinese place that serves shark fin everything? I DON’T THINK SO!! The ¥10,000 a head steak bar? Maybe not. Luckily, there is a kombini (convenience store) in the lobby. Cup noodles all round. (Soba, no flavouring)………

Off to Kamakura tomorrow. Kamakura housed a shogunate from around 1180 until 1333. In 1250AD it was the fourth largest city in the world. It’s on the beach and looks interesting….and its five hours away, on Shinkansen. That is around 850kms away.

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