Day 6 - Thursday 2 April - Hiroshima to Himeji to Osaka

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Last night I decided that if it was clear I'd go on a trek to Hiroshima Castle. So this morning it was clear, so Sandra, Natty and I hopped on a tram back down to the A-bomb Dome station. From there we walked north to the castle and had a look around. Hopefully got some nice photos from the south-western corner. 
 
Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle 

This eucalypt survived the atomic blast
This eucalypt survived the atomic blast
Photo by Natty


Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle

Unfortunately we didn't have very long there because the others had to check out of their room. Stu was checking out for us so I could stay a little longer. So walked around the eastern side of the moat but didn't really get any better photos.

Walls of Hiroshima Castle
Walls of Hiroshima Castle

I walked back down to the A-bomb Dome and from there found the location of the hypocentre of the atomic bomb blast. Was just as sad wandering around there today as it was yesterday :( The guide that we talked to yesterday was there too, talking to a guy and his kids.

Hypocentre.  The atomic bomb went off 600 metres above this spot.
Hypocentre. The atomic bomb went off 600 metres above this spot. 

A-Bomb Dome in morning light
A-Bomb Dome in morning light

The Peace Clock in the Peace Park
The Peace Clock in the Peace Park

So then headed back to the hotel and we checked out and headed for the station.

We liked the little window the Nozomi N700 train guards had to look out
We liked the little window the Nozomi N700 train guards had to look out 

Japan welcomes tourists to their toilets
Japan is the country to go to if you have a weak bladder.
Toilets are everywhere, always free, clean (except some
of the squatty ones) and look at this - they welcome tourists
to their toilets!! Europe, please pay attention!


Our mission for the day was Himeji castle. Sadly not all of the cherry blossoms were out yet, so didn't get as spectacular photos as you see on the postcards, but did manage to get some nice photos with some of the trees that had partly opened. We all went crazy taking photos heh.

Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle 

Cherry blossoms near Himeji Castle
Cherry blossoms near Himeji Castle 

Taking photos on phone cameras
Taking photos on phone cameras 

Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle 

Cherry blossoms near Himeji Castle
Cherry blossoms near Himeji Castle 

First of only two group photos we had in Japan
First of only two group photos we had in Japan 

Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle 
Photo by Stu

We went inside (600yen) and then were herded like a flock of sheep through the interior and up into the towers. Managed to lose each other in the crowds which was a bit annoying, but found each other not too long after. The main tower was pretty cool, but pretty much devoid of any contents. There were some museum-type displays but everyone was racing so fast through the place it was hard to stop to read them. We also had to take our shoes off, which proved tricky when laden down with backpacks, camera bags and cameras, and a steady stream of people pushing their way past :/

Interior of Himeji Castle - not showing the crowds in here!
Interior of Himeji Castle - not showing the crowds in here! 

View of the castle grounds from the top level of the castle
View of the castle grounds from the top level of the castle 

Shrine in top level of Himeji Castle
Shrine in top level of Himeji Castle. This gives no indication of how packed it was in here!

Courtyard in Himeji Castle
Courtyard in Himeji Castle 

Eventually made our way out and found the others in the West Bailey before wandered towards the exit.

Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle 

Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle 

The Nats and Andrew had decided to go see the next door gardens, so Sandra and Stu and I went off to find some lunch (it was well after 3pm by this time). We found an alley restaurant that had no english menu, or even a menu with pictures, so we all had to go back out again and show them what we wanted from the plastic display food! :) I had some some of pork ramen, and the pork was sooo good, so tender.

Then found a sheltered spot in the sun to have some snackages while waiting for the others. A bit before the designated meeting time I tried to find a spot on the eastern side of the castle to get some photos but there were too many trees in the way :(  So caught up with the others, and we went back to the station, retrieved our bags, and caught a train to Osaka.

Our train to Osaka in the sunset
Our train to Osaka coming out of the sunset 

Found the hotel easily (Natty and Sandra stayed here on their way down the country). Had a team meeting to decide on a rough plan for our four days here. Stu did washing while I went out with the others to get a snack. Had to stay up rather a lot later than we wanted to waiting for the washing, but at least can sleep in a bit in the morning.

Steps walked today: 20117
Photos taken by me: 330
Photos taken by Stu: 152

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