Koko wa doko?

Today we left Hiroshima and said goodbye to the Dormy Inn.

  
We also met up briefly with Taryn, Mike and the girls for a coffee before we headed back to Tokyo.

  
Then we caught the Shinkansen  to Shin-Osaka. We ate cakes on the train.

   
    
 
At Shin- Osaka we changed to the slowest Shinkansen in the world (stopping ALL stations) to Tokyo. We ate delicious bento, and then we sat for about 3 hours or more….

   
   
We tried to see Mt Fuji from the train but it was hiding behind clouds. We saw a tiny part of it. We eventually made it to Tokyo and checked in to our accomodation. 

Then we went and had ramen for dinner at a nearby ramen place called Toybox. It was very good.

   
 
Then we decided to walk to Asakusa. We saw the temples and wandered around a bit, then on the way back got lost. We managed to find a subway station and got home eventually.

   
    
 

Let’s Enjoy Japanese Cooking, Together

Today was a bit exciting as we got to meet up with Steve’s brother Mike and family Hiroshima. Blainie actually went to Kindergarten with Mike’s wife Taryn, so they have pretty much known each other their whole life which is pretty crazy.

With no mobile phone devices working as well as we would like them too, we were lucky that we actually found them this morning in a random cafe.

We first went for a wander around the Peace Park because it was a lovely warm morning.

Then we caught the tram to Hiroshima Castle.

   
 
Pretty cool castle. Maia and Zoe got to dress up as samurai’s.

   
   
We had a wander around the grounds and it started to rain a bit.

   
   
We all went back to our hotels for a rest in the afternoon. Then it started pouring with rain. Steve and I went and had coffee and cake at a nearby cafe. Blainies new favourite cafe. We weren’t going to have cake but we couldn’t resist. They were delicious!

   
   
Then we met up with Mike & Taryn and the girls again to go have dinner. After a quick trip to Uniqlo, we went for dinner at our favourite grill your own food place. We ordered a whole load of delicious food.

   
    
    
 
Then we tried to go to Taito Station to check out the games, but found out children under 16 weren’t allowed in. So we had fun with the gashapon machines out the front instead.

   
 

One last dessert before the end of the night.

  
And everyone went home, tired but happy. 

Mata Ashita Ne!

It’s ma birthday

Yes, today was Blainie’s birthday. The plan was always to spend today in Miyajima, but it was kind of cold today and Blainie wasn’t feeling great so that plan was aborted. Instead, we decided to go to Saijo – a small sake brewing town. It was a 35 minute trip out of Hiroshima, quite the scenic trip. 

When we got to Saijo, we were a bit hungry so we stopped for some snacks at a bakery. 

   
 
Then we went for a wander around town. We went into about 6 or so sake breweries (just in to their shop area), and tasted one quite delicious sake. But, it was cold walking around town and Blainie wasn’t feeling great, so we didn’t hang around too long.

   
    
 
We headed back to Hiroshima (Blainie had a nap on the train), and then stopped off at Sogo department store where we visited The Sanrio Store, Pokemon Store and Loft. Loft is Blainies favourite store. Some things were purchased.

   
 
Then a quick snack of onigiri and crispy fishies was had in the basement food section, before wandering back via the Peace Park to our hotel for a rest.

   
 
Oh we also picked up some cake (it was Blainie’s birthday after all) which we ate back at the hotel with a coffee.

   
    
   
After an afternoon rest, we headed out for dinner at a seafood place where you grill your food yourself at your table. We actually went here (twice) the last time we were in Hiroshima, and liked it so much that we thought we needed to return.

   
    
 
Then on the way back to the hotel after dinner we stopped at Taito Station for a game of drumming hero or whatever it’s called.

  
Not a bad birthday in the end.

Eating and shopping and laundry

We had a quiet day in Hiroshima today. Blainie was feeling a bit unwell, a lingering cold coming back for a bit of a second go. So while she rested at the hotel, Steve went for a bit of a wander down to the Peace Park.

   
    
 
After Steve returned from his walk, it was decided that we needed lunch. So we headed to a cute little place nearby called Handi. They serve curry. Steve had a vege curry and Blainie had butter chicken. 

   
 
After lunch, we went for a bit of a wander around, looking at shops and such. Blainie ALMOST made it out of Uniqlo empty handed, but at the very last minute discovered a very cool jacket that was on sale that she HAD to have. Did a bit more shopping, then back to the hotel. Steve had a bath and we did a load of washing. Fascinating stuff.

For dinner we went about 2 minutes from our hotel to an udon place. Blainie had curry udon, and Steve had beef udon. 

   
 

Edit: I almost forgot-we also had these super cute and delicious donuts from Floresta Donuts today whilst we were out shopping.

   
   

Oh hai, Himeji

After one last delicious  breakfast, we bid adieu to our new friends at Ohanabo Ryokan.

   
 
And the we Shinkansen’ed it to Himeji to finally go see Himeji Castle. Himeji Castle has been taunting us through the Shinkansen windows for years now. We have zipped by it so many times but never stopped. One of the reasons we haven’t been before was because for the last 7 years they have been doing major restoration work on it, it is after all a few hundred years old. Just over a year ago the restoration was finished (we missed it last year but mere months), so finally it was our time.

Upon arriving in Himeji, before we see the castle however, it is imperative that we first visit the Hello Kitty Cafe for a coffee and matcha latte.

   
   
Then it’s about a 15 minute straight up the Main Street to the castle. It was quite busy when we got there, and the sign said it would be a one hour wait to get inside the castle. We decided to wait as who knows when we would be here again. Lots of people were picnicking in the park enjoying the last days of the cherry blossoms.

  
We waited in line a while, but it wasn’t an hour, so that was nice. When we got in the castle it was very busy and they kind of just ushered us through, but it was still pretty cool. We got to the top, then went back down again.

   
 
The grounds around the castle were super lovely and the view of the castle with the cherry trees was quite spectacular.

   
    
    
   
We wandered around the castle grounds. We saw some cats, and a nice garden.

   
    
 
And then before we knew it, we were back on a Shinkansen and then in Hiroshima.