A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Hijo Castle, Kyoto

Hijo Castle, Kyoto

Hijo Castle, Kyoto

Hijo Castle, Kyoto

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Osaka from the Castle Keep


Every single day since I left Blighty I have sweated from the second I left my air-conditioned room to when I returned, and today was no exception, which was nice for Erica by the time I met her late afternoon at Osaka International Airport. What was a nice start to the day though was having a full on buffet breakfast at my hostel and being able to have not only unlimited coffee, but coffee that was hot and without sugar in it!

I spent the morning in Kyoto, first at the nearby Higishi-Hongunji Temple and then at the very nice Hijo Castle. As well as being a lovely building with great painted screens and doors and a nice garden, Hijo Castle had nightingale floors, which were fantastic. These are floors that make bird noises - and it is more like that than squeaky floorboards - to warn of intruders. It was great.

And then off to Osaka on the shinkansen, which only took 14 minutes! Nuts! I hadn`t brought either of my guidebooks as I was confident there would be maps in English at the station, etc. Turns out I couldn`t even find maps in Japanese. However, I can`t be completely senile as I found my way to Osaka Castle and the National Museum. The Castle was great from the outside, serious stuff. A huge moat, then huge walls, then a normal size moat and some fairly big walls and then more stuff and in the middle an impressive keep (not so inside).

Then the National Museum, where there was a special exhibition on Ise Shinto Shrine. I already knew this was completely rebuilt every 20 years (and has been for about the last 1400 years), what I hadn`t realised was that 1,500 varying votive items were also burnt and replaced by identical copies, all of the highest craftsmanship. Nice stuff. And then to the airport (where I am now) to meet the Mrs.



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