Friday, June 24, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Okayama to Hiroshima






We set off from our Michi no eki in Kayou and onto a day of nature adventuring with some spots in mind that we found off the map the day before :) We definitely got super lost this day and despite writing down the kanji and trying to follow signs, we kind of just fluked our nature adventures :p We ended up at Makido caves, a limestone cave system and also a beautiful nature walk that left us breathless. I wrote in my notes we visited Maniwa, Kamba falls and rashamon, which includes a 40m limestone arch! 

We also went to Niimi Chiya hot springs and it was the first time we had tattoo issues. It all got a little lost in translation but the girls at the desk (although kind of horrified about us having tattoos) were super helpful and ended us giving us keys to a private disability onsen, so it worked out in the end.


Pathway







Moss covered ornament







Archway









Nature


Afterwards, we said goodbye to Okayama and drove to Hiroshima prefecture, where we would do something super fun the next day! The town we ended up in was called Takehara and they had their own historical town so it was fun to roam the small but pretty and ghost like streets :)


Milk container



Cherry blossoms


I found out those balls (above left) are made with cedar and called, sugidama

Sake makers would hang up a fresh green sugidama in November or December, right after they pressed sake made from the new rice harvest. Customers knew that a few months later, when the sugidama turned completely brown, the sake was ready to drink - source

Japanese rooftops

Fee in Takehara



Ume


Japan Observations from my scribbled notes
         - iconic white cranes, flying among rice patties #sojapanese
         - people in cars pull up anywhere even if unsafe to do so
         - a michi no eki can be almost empty yet a car will always pull up beside us

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Japan Road Trip : Okayama

After our flat battery dramas in Osaka, the following days made up mega paranoid about our car battery. I think our van always started rough, due to the cold but it wasn't until we focused on the issue that we started to worry about it - life wisdom right there! So this morning, we decided to take care of two issues, dirty clothes and car starting issues! We found a laundry mat - tick! And then we found a yellow hat to buy some jumper cables - tick! We figured if we had jumper cables we could at least hail down someone and not feel so helpless!

Our day wasn't all boring though we checked out a turtle station, complete with real life turtles inside and a horseshoe crab Museum, complete with a dinosaur park outside! And at night, we hit up Takahashi and I diverted from my normal eating and had some eggs which was an actual delight but for the rest of the holiday I got back on track :)







Turtle stamps at Kamenoko station in Misaki + a handmade turtle keyring! I loved the smaller towns, we had such delightful interaction with staff and people who made us feel super special :)







Tyrannosaurus rex














The dinosaur park is free to roam around and then for a small fee you can go inside the horseshoe crab museum which I would totally recommend, it's rather odd, has random cabinets of vintage collectable and lots of curious things.  It only takes around an hour or less to explore and if you ask nicely they give you a sheet with stamps to collect as you walk around the museum (I have a feeling they hand these out to kids :p). The staff who run the Museum are so lovely though and even gifted us with origami at the end!!


dino and horeshoe crab!













This map outside was helpful in showing us some ideas for our next day :) Normally I go a bit overboard with planning but I kind of ran out of time this holiday, probably to the delight of Ben :p Our goal for the trip was it be super relaxed/go-with-the-flow and to be honest that philosophy probably helped it be one of our favourite holidays ever :)


That night we hang out in Takahashi, a city in Okayama and home to our Michi No Eki for the evening 









Lantern
I'm holding the instructions sheet our waitress gave us :) "Okonomiyaki spatula lecture"



My Japan observations
- beautiful nature
- kawaii
- industrial
- run down