The season I love the most has arrived! I was told it wouldn’t be my favourite in this country due to the high humidity, heat and rain. I must admit the humidity so far has been okay but I’ve been told that what I am currently experiencing is mild. Okay enough about the weather, I am officially on holidays!!
I am going back to the UK for my brother’s wedding but I allowed myself two weeks here to do a little bit of exploring before I go. I had originally planned to go to Wakayama with a friend to do the ‘Kumano Kudo’ hike but those plans changed and we ended up exploring Himeji.
Himeji is famously known for the castle due to it being one of Japan’s original twelve that was not destroyed or effected by the war, earthquakes or other disasters. Upon entering the main building we were instructed to take our shoes off to walk around. I couldn’t fathom the size of everything inside the castle, each room we entered was huge and the stairs leading to the different levels were large and very steep. The views from each level were great and I can see why Himeji Castle is a popular hanami spot during Sakura.
Prior to exploring Himeji Castle we went to Engoyi-Ji Temple on Mt Shosha which was roughly 8km from the castle. We took a cable car up to the top of the mountain which was marginally enjoyable (I have a slight fear of heights). I expected the temple to be a building but it was a huge complex comprised of lots of different buildings. We visited two of the main buildings which were also featured in the film ‘The Last Samurai’. It was really peaceful and I loved being in the mountains.
A few weekends ago I spent the day at Maiko beach which was really nice. I didn’t go into the sea but I relaxed on the sand, read my book and listened to music. It was one of my favourite weekends. The beach is situated near Akashi bridge so you can see the bridge from the beach which is pretty cool. The beach was practically empty too which was another plus, there were literally only a handful of people enjoying the rays.
I went on another hike with the hiking group I joined and once again it was really good. It was more challenging than the initial one but it was good fun. If it stays dry today I will be going on another hike this afternoon.
I went to my first baseball game in Japan to see the Hanshin Tigers and it was a completely different experience to the American game. The fans of the Tigers have chants for every player and most of the crowd have batons and there is a conductor (yes a conductor) to guide everyone how and when to play (their batons) and chant. It was great to experience the liveliness of the crowd. I’ve always been a fan of going to sport games because the atmosphere makes everything even more electric and this was definitely the case.
At the seventh inning (I think it was the seventh) everyone in the crowd released balloons. When released they make a special whistling sound and it was awesome to see all the balloons in the stadium but the spray of saliva that came with it was not only unexpected but pretty disgusting. I initially thought it was rain until I realised it was saliva!
I have one more week until I fly back to London and then my mum will be flying back to Japan with me which I ‘m excited about. I have lots planned for her and I’m looking forward to showing her around and exploring more of the country.