Kyoto, Japan, October 2011 travel blog

The famous Bullet Train.

Symbol of Himeji Castle

Layout of the Castle area

Part of the Castle is being reconstructed, so the drawing shows what...

Path made of roof tiles on their sides.

Superstructure over the reconstruction frames the city of Himeji.

The many layers of roofing materials

View from the elevator on the way up to the visitors' center....

Moat surrounding the Castle

After a 12-hour rest, I’m revived and ready to go. Saturday morning, and it’s 88% humidity and raining. May just stay in today, do laundry, etc. But then again, I’m sure I’ll find something fun to do!

Later—yep! Sat with Tamao and Douglas at breakfast (they are staying for a couple of weeks to do follow-up with the people who were so kind to us, plan next spring’s tour, etc.) Douglas knew that we had purchased a JR (Japan Rail) pass for a week. It takes you anyplace you want to go on any JR line train. He encouraged us to use it to go as far as possible from Kyoto.

Although we think of Japan as a large country, it is about three-quarters the size of California. JR runs the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) and you can go just about anyplace quickly. After a group meeting, several of us decided to go to Himeji Castle in the town of Himeji, between Kyoto and Hiroshima. We plan to go to Hiroshima on a day when we start early.

Got the 10:45 train and arrived in Himeji an hour later. Walked about 1 km to Himeji Castle. We had been warned that it is being reconstructed, so much of it is covered up, but there were still parts visible. In addition, they have spent a lot of money in constructing a visitors’ center which highlights the history of previous reconstructions as well as the technical aspects of the current one. So it was actually very interesting!

We had intended to visit the nine gardens in the castle complex, but it started raining pretty hard, so decided to come back on a nicer day.

It has been incredibly humid today (88-90%), and in the 70’s, so everything (and everyone) is very hot and sticky. Got back to the hotel before it started raining real hard, which it is now. I may just have some snacks, a shower, and early bedtime. The weather forecast is for better weather tomorrow, so we may go to Hiroshima. We are trying to maximize the few days we have left. Several people want to go to Tokyo Disneyland, so that is on the list for Monday if the weather cooperates.

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