Kyoto Station pretty much marked the end of this whirlwind four day trip but it wasn’t the happiest of endings as the bullet trains were all delayed and so I had to wait for over an hour till they were running again. Still, it did give me some time to look around the station which is a sight in itself really due to the architecture. Of course no-one goes to Kyoto just for the station though!
My time in the city was fairly short and just involved a visit to Heian Shrine around 4pm as it was used in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003) and ‘Around The World In 80 Days‘ (1956).
It was a busy trip so lets rewind three days to when the trip began 12 months ago…
- Please note that the times are just when I took the photos included and designed to give a general idea of where I was and when. It’s not as if I just spent one minute in each place!
Friday 15th October 2021
12:18 – The first stop after leaving Tokyo was Kamakura where I went to see the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple as that also appeared in the aforementioned ‘Around The World In 80 Days‘ movie.
14:55 – Before checking into my parents-in-law’s house, I took a little detour to Usami to get some new photos of the former Minesaki Clinic which is known locally as Monster Hospital.
Saturday 16th October 2021
06:49 – It was an early start to the morning as my parents in law’s dog Cocoa woke me up demanding some attention. It was indeed lovely to spend some quality time with just him.
11:41 – A 90 minute train ride from Ito to Shimizu was followed by a short walk to S-Pulse Dream Plaza.
11:49 – The Shimizu Sushi Museum was my main port of call inside the plaza as I was curious to see what exactly it would entail.
14:20 – After a long walk in the rain I made it inside the IAI Stadium Nihondaira to see the J-League match between Shimizu S-Pulse and Kashiwa Reysol. I sat in the home end but was actually supporting the away team who won 1-0. After the match it was a long train journey up to Gifu Prefecture.
Sunday 17th October 2021
07:24 – A quick bus journey early morning to see the avant-garde style Softopia Japan Center building in Ogaki.
07:50 – Ogaki Castle was the first and the smallest of my visit to four castles in four different prefectures within 24 hours on this trip.
09:07 – The colourful and architecturally inspiring Reversible Destiny installations within Yōrō Park were my main place of interest in Gifu Prefecture.
10:44 – The briefest of visits to a hat shrine was next.
10:49 – Arao Station was the gateway to the hat shrine. This station was not just unstaffed but there wasn’t even a ticket dispenser of any sort!
12:15 – On to Shiga Prefecture to revisit Hikone-jo Castle which featured in ‘3 Ninajas Kick Back‘ (1994) and ‘The Hunted‘ (1995).
16:37 – Having journeyed south to Wakayama Prefecture for three hours, my first place to visit was this Devil head slide playground.
17:04 – I walked further south to the unstaffed Miyamae station to then take a train back to Wakayama station.
18:09 – I met up with my friend and local resident Neil for some ramen at Ide Shoten (considered to be the best in Japan) followed by more food and some beers at an izakaya.
Monday 18th October 2021
06:20 – Wakayama Castle could be seen from my hotel room but I decided to get a another view from street level.
07:56 – It was a quite short train ride up the coast to Tan-nowa station where the hidden fortress on the coast of Osaka was a short walk away.
09:11 – Kishiwada-jo castle was used in ‘G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes‘ (2021) but as it was a Monday the interior was closed and off limits to me which was very frustrating after such an effort to go there.
10:18 – Japan Pentecostal church was a few minutes on foot from Shin-Imamiya station in Osaka city.
11:18 – This surely has to be Japan’s cheapest vending machine with drinks costing as little as 10 yen!!
12:32 – Lunchtime was spent at my friend Oki’s sushi restaurant in the eastern suburbs of Osaka.
14:13 – There was just enough time on my transit at Kayashima station to see the rare sight of a tree in the middle of the platform.
14:42 – Korien Station was the final stop before continuing onto Kyoto. The comical-looking oppai house (boob house) was a 15 minute walk away.
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