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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Himeji Castle and the running man

Our final breakfast in Takayama was the same as the day before - boiled egg, miso soup, salmon slice fried, pickles, vegetables, seaweed sheets and rice. We picked up a couple of local treats from the train station - mitarashi dango and goheimochi. Both are types of starchy rice mochi, shaped onto skewers or sticks, then roasted with different types of sauce.

We caught the Hida wide view train back to Nagoya, transferred to a shinkansen to Osaka, then checked our baggage in at Shin-Osaka. Back on the shinkansen to Himeji for my second visit to Himeji Castle, regarded as one of the most spectacular castles in Japan. Along the way was a decadent 1,000 yen obento box containing a number of treats, the most exciting being a sea snail (tasted more like a mussel and less like an escargot).

Himeji Castle was just as spectacular the second time around. Built in the early 17th century, the castle was registered as World Cultural Heritage in 1993, with most of the castle still in its original design. Nicknamed the White Heron Castle, it looks as though it contains five floors from the outside, but really contains six floors plus a basement. The 360 degree views from the top (reached by steep wooden stairs) were amazing too.

We had a chance to try some local strawberries which were deliciously sweet and juicy. I also splashed out on a apple for 98 yen. Oh the long forgotten joys of whole fruit!

More Kit Kat varieties found: Kit Kat Cocoa 61% and Kit Kat Orange Brandy. Both are soon to be eaten and discussed in detail :)

Back to Osaka and we headed to the bright shiny lights of Dotombori for dinner. It is here that Osaka really comes alive, althought construction view prevented the full splendour of the Bladerunner atmosphere. The Glica running man is always a welcome sight though.

We also found a teenage hangout near Namba station where kids were practising dance moves, popping, and group routines. It was pretty cool.

Dinner was a big bowl of char siu pork ramen from a Korean-inspired joint with DIY pickled garlic chives, kim chee and garlic. We took our shoes off to sit on the raised tatami mats, and dined off low tables.

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/15/2007 11:14:00 pm


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