We slept well – so for now, all is right with the world! :) We were up at 7 and ready to tackle the extensive range at breakfast – yum!
With brekky over it's time to head west once more, and today it's Hiroshima and Himeji Castle (the only castle in Japan to have been preserved in its original form - used in the film, Ran).
We took the local bus down to Kyoto Station and then picked up the bullet-train to Hiroshima after changing at Osaka. It's about 200 miles there, but we were there in under 90 mins. Hiroshima has trams, so we jumped on the one heading for the Atomic Dome. About 20 minutes later we were looking at the former 1915 Exhibition Hall, the shell intact and the last remains of the damage caused by the A-bomb on 6th August 1945 at 8.15. Further on, we walked through the Peace Park and past the eternal flame to the 'Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum' It was a really detailed exhibition full of background information and some stunning photography about the bombing.
The humid weather started to change and we felt some rain in the air, so we headed back to the main Station. We practised our Japanese in McDonalds: chicken-filet-o and quarter-pounder-o meal and we were sorted! We then took a short train ride to Himeji and walked to Himeji Castle, only to find it was closed…we missed it by about five minutes! This is the oldest preserved Shogun castle in Japan and looms over Himeji city like a "white heron" – very famous and used in the film RAN for the battle scenes.
We stopped off for a mega ice-cream at the station before catching the train back to Kyoto. Time for some shut-eye on the train and a nap before arriving in the middle of the manic rush hour. Hoards of nips, 4ft high, scurrying like well-drilled ninja ants, clutching their bento boxes and rucksacks for their commuter trains home.
As we were Japanese cleam-clackered (Tokyo rhyming-slang!), we decided not to eat in the restaurant tonight and picked up some snacks from the station.
Diving into the snacks, and trying to determine crisp flavours by the colour of the packets is not recommended in Japan – and nor is trying to determine flavour by the pictures on the cans of fizzy drinks! The crisps were a sort of prawny-cheesey-chickeny-salty flavour and the fizz was… completely indescribable!!! A sort of flat Alka-Seltzer without the burps.
8pm and we're shattered – time for bed said Zebedee!