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Himeji Castle and Kobe

best beef EVER

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With Osaka fully seen in just 2 days I decided to take a day trip to HImeji castle, supposedly the must see castle of Japan. So i took the train 1 hour from Osaka, noticing that on the way I passed Kobe.

I decided to visit the Koen next to the castle first, which had some very interesting gardens, and was very peaceful and not very busy. I also saw an albino carp which was pretty cool. Then i went around to the castle which was much busier. Again because of the cherry blossoms the Americans and Japanese were out in force taking photos.What was partiularly good about this castle was that there was information all the way around in English. First i took a tour around the outer buildings which had some intersting informaiton about holes which things were dropped though and special drainage on the windows. INformation but not too much unnessessary information. Then the tour route took you out in front of the castle for a nice portrait of the castle and it looked quite spectacular. Going around inside the castle the first few floors had information and exhibits,such as things they dug up while restoring it and pictures of how it would have looked back in the day. Then at the top there was a very nice view over the town, and the surrounding gardens of the castle.

Having finished at the castle by 1pm, i decided to head to KObe since it was on the way and a stopover wouldnt cost any more for the train fare. ALso i read in my guide book that i could get a lunch set of Kobe beef for about 15quid, which seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. So i took the train to kobe and rushed to get to the restuarant before 3pm, when i thought the lunch would finish. I arrived in time and ordered the cheapest set.The chef cooked the food in front of me, i watched as he cut the slice of fat from the edge and then cut away a third of the beef and rested it on top to cook. This was served with musard, soy sauce, japanese vinger, salt, pepper and garlic. And the beef was the most amazing beef ever, i didnt think it would be as good as the reputation that precedes it but it tasted so good, i cant even describe the taste, because it was like no beef i have ever tasted before. Then while i was eating that piece and my salad, pickles, rice and soup the chef cooked some vegetables (pepper, potato, tofu, abergine and some weird japanese jelly thing) with the next piece of beef and added it to my plate as and when it was cooked. HE then served the fat. THen the final piece of beef was cut into smal pieces and cooked with some bean sprouts. FInished off with a cup of green tea. For the price the beef was amazing and a complete bargain. If i ever have the opportunity and the money again i will be sure to have KObe beef again.

From my meal, and feeling very satisfied i took the cable car up the hill to see a view over Kobe and towards Osaka. The view was very nice, and then I made my way down the hill through the herb garden which was a little unusual for my trip but nice enough, Then i could have gotten the cable car down the last half of the hill, but i decided to take the hiking route... which was maybe a mistake. It started out very nice but then i started to freak myself out becasue of the horror movies that are going through in my head. There was no one else on the route, but it kept running through my head that maybe when i did see someone that person wuld kill me or soemthing!!! then the route took much longer than it should have taken and i started having to walk up stairs which seemed odd since i was going down the moutain. the signs had started off with english on them but by this stage they were just in japanese so i was trying to work out the way to get down.

ANyway, since i am writing this you can assume that i was jsut being paranoid and i got down safely. Then i was going to get the train back to Osaka, but i saw that i could get the subway to Harborland which i knew was where the memorial park for the 1995 earthquake was, so i thought i would pop over to see that. It was very interesting tosee, once i eventually found it, because they had kept a part of the pier as it was in the direct aftermath of the earthquake,so that you can see the extent of the damage, and there were some photos on display with english translation to explain the aftermath. It seemed very out of place because the rest of the city is completely recovered from the earthquake after 12 years.

After this i finally went back to the hostel and planed my next day.

Posted by leiasj 04:25 Archived in Japan

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