Himeji Day 2, part 1: Kokoen Garden, adjacent to the castle

We woke up late on Tuesday, and read for a while in bed. It was so nice not having any particular plans for the day. We had a few things short-listed: 

  • a mountain temple, accessed first by bus then cable car
  • a toy museum 
  • the art and history museums in the castle grounds
  • the 9 consecutive gardens of the castle (accessed separately)
  • a sake distillery
  • and a couple of errands: arrange reserved seats on the next day’s train, visit the tourist office, shop for hats

When we were finally ready to leave, we went immediately to the tourist office. We learned that the mountain temple would take most of a day (and was therefore probably already no longer an option), and that the art and history museums were closed today (because they are usually closed Mondays, but yesterday was a holiday, so they had been open). We decided to start with the gardens and see how the day treated us.

Near the gardens, we snacked on some sweet castle-shaped cakes then breakfasted on conger eel and lotus root “burgers” on a toasted ricecake “bun,” prepared by a ninja. He was very silly, and put hats on us to pose with.

The gardens were gorgeous. The fall colors are beginning. They will be spectacular very soon, but the promise is already there. 

There was a tea house on the grounds, so we decided to have tea and sweets. We struggled a little with what we were supposed to do. The instruction pamphlet was both too much info and not quite enough to know what we were doing. 

The tea was matcha. If anyone who bothers to read this is unfamiliar with matcha, it is an intense green tea. I do not like it. I like green tea. I really really dislike matcha. I remember being able to get green tea ice cream, for example, that was not matcha. Not anymore, apparently. It’s all matcha. Anyway, Matt laughed as I drank it all down. Our instruction manual insisted that every last drop much be finished.

Anyway, we finished our tea and continued our meander of the gardens.

For the rest of the day, see the next post!