But first an addenda to our first blog.
From Kumamoto – Takachiho Gorge at Picnic spot
From Kagoshima – Coordinating public transport is not without its dramas. Missed the only bus to the Samurai Village and had to take a taxi. Immaculately trimmed and maintained gardens, not likely to be replicated in Melbourne.
An attempt to visit the Kamekazi museum at Chiran was thwarted by heavy rain (big Queensland sized rain drops) and lack of time. We found a warm place (coffee & tea rooms to shelter) as we waited for a bus back to the train.
The second attempt to visit the Kamekazi museum was successful, but needed some fine timing to coordinate train-bus connection. Chiran was the site of the training airbase for young pilots. Old film footage of the servicemen working on aircraft brought mixed feelings (my dad having done the same in New Guinea).The photos of the families waving goodbye and the translations of the messages the pilots wrote to their families were quite moving. Proud young men doing what they thought was the right thing to do for their country and families at home.
The hot sand bath and hot springs were definitely worth a visit. Didn’t know the soles of the feet and heels were so sensitive to heat. It was rather embarrassing having a male voice calling CQ just outside the entrance of the women’s onsen.
We timed our return to Kagoshima perfectly and caught the Shinkansen to Hiroshima, speeds over 300 kph.
Day 1 in Hiroshima, began with a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum and Park.
Exhibits included diorama of the aftermath, remnants of clothing, building materials and household items.
The story of the paper cranes made by young girl in the hope that they would save her life.
Our attempts to fold paper cranes were pretty abysmal, and needed much help from the women to get the final result.
Entrance to Hiroshima castle (reconstructed)
Mid afternoon – visit to the Naka Incineration Plant, not your usual tour attraction, necessitated another run to catch the bus. It is well set up for viewing with a wide corridor down the centre, all behind glass of course, and scaled model explaining the layout. Apparently it is quite spectacular at night when it is all lit up.
Day 2 Hiroshima Today’s excursion to Miyajima Island went ahead despite some pretty ordinary weather. Arrived at high tide and the entrance to the Shrine was under water and not possible to walk to the Tori (gate). Opted to take the ropeway and climb to the top of Mt Misen. Unfortunately we only had a good view of the fog. Ewen and I checked out the waterfall route on the way down. Lots of granite steps and very slippery in parts. By the time we got back down the weather had fined up.
A visit to the aquarium. Penguin feeding (Humboldt penguins, saw none of these in Antartica), a sea lion show, colourful fish and various amphibious animals.
Glad to put our feet up at the end of the day. Dinner at a local bar. Very animated waiters. Lots of shouting and cheering. As my mother would have said, less of that and more concentrating on the job at hand. They forgot Bruce’s order.
Fleeting visit to Himeji to see the castle. Wedding cake castle. Seat of power here from 1400s. Castle has undergone several restorations over the years. Huge timber supports. Not a lift up window seat, but a defence mechanism for dropping of stones, pouring boiling oil & water on the enemy. Good view from top. (Photos in my next blog)
Getting expert at changing trains mid journey, successful at one connection, next trip has 3 connections.Let’s see how we go. Very successfully. Arrived at station, shuttle bus appeared, hotel on the coast, brilliant view, superb dinner, onsen, what more could you ask for.