It's Saturday afternoon and we just checked into our hotel in Yamaguchi. Let me backtrack to where the last post left off.
We spent Friday morning in Hiroshima and toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It covered what Hiroshima was like before the bomb, the affects of the bomb, and the rebuilding of the city. The museum was well done and moving.
We then walked round Hiroshima a bit before catching a train to Tsuwano. Tsuwano is a small mountain town in rural Japan, about three hours ride from Hiroshima. After throwing our bags at the hotel, we started exploring the town. There are small irrigation ditches running along the roads and most are filled with koi.
We went over to another shrine, set into the mountain side. Here's the Torii (gate) at the base:
The path up to the shrine runs through over one thousand vermillion torii gates. Here's a view of the town from partway up the path:
And here is the shrine at the top:
After checking out the shrine, we headed back to the hotel for dinner. The hotel was a traditional Japanese guesthouse and included dinner and breakfast. The rooms had tatami mats and we slept on futons. Here's a picture of our room:
Dinner was excellent - they served us more dishes than I can remember.
Most dishes included local vegetables, several of which I had never had before. Here are some of the dishes:
- Several types of sashimi
- Potato stew
- Miso Soup
- Cooked whitefish with savory sauce
- Mushroom and rice bowl
- Shabu-shabu (hot pot) full of excellent fish, meat, and veggies (including many different kinds of local mushrooms)
It was awesome and we were completely stuffed by the end of the meal. After, we went for a short walk and then right to bed.
We woke up at 7am the next day and grabbed breakfast at the guesthouse; the highlight was a delicious clam soup.
Next we hiked to the ruins of Tsuwano Castle. The castle was built in 1295 and used until 1871. Today, only the foundations remain. The hike was about 40 minutes, the ruins were cool, and the views of the valley were excellent.
After spending some time exploring the ruins, we took the long way down, passed by some more shrines, and walked along the river back to the Tsuwano train station.
Tsuwano was a great village to visit and a nice change of pace from the bustling Japanese cities.
We're staying now in Yamaguchi, a small city west of Hiroshima. We'll be heading out early tomorrow to Osaka, where we'll spend a few hours exploring before catching our flight back to San Francisco.