Well, here we go again Autumn Japan 2023…
Last year we visited Kyoto, Takamatsu, Osaka, and many of the famous Southern koi breeders around Hiroshima, Matsue, etc.
The schedule for this year’s autumn trip is to visit Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Wakayama, Osaka and more, where we will once again be visiting many of the World Heritage sites and famous gardens, with a few off the beaten track! Also, we will be visiting Pine Farmers and Bonsai Nurseries to continue our knowledge for Wakai Trees.
The second half of our trip we intend to travel down south to meet our good friend Micheal Snaden of Yume Koi Japan where we will be visiting the many famous koi breeders which are located in the Hiroshima, Okayama, Matsue and Kyushu areas.
So, it was a great feeling to be stepping back on a plane again and heading back to Japan to continue our travels around Japan as per our itinerary above. This year we are flying with KLM flying into Kansa Osaka airport, with the first of our two legs starting from Newcastle International airport to Schiphol Amsterdam, then on to Kansai Osaka airport which is typical Japanese engineering being a manmade island built on the sea specifically designed for the airport, connected by a large bridge to the mainland infrastructure. It’s a fantastic sight to see from the air and from the shore.
Landing in the morning around 10:00am slightly delayed by one hour, by this time we had already been up around 24 hours with just a couple of cat naps on the plane. We then picked up our luggage, which is always a relief, then clearing immigration for foreigners (as they call us) and clearing customs. This can be slightly daunting for the first timer! We quickly freshened up, changed our phone SIMS to Japan SIMS which we had purchased back in the UK then headed off to the main train station in the airport to access our Japan rail passes, which we again purchased in the UK. Our Japan Rail Passes give us free range on the JR rail system, though you still have to go to the ticket office if wanting to reserve seats, which is best done if traveling on the Shinkansen bullet trains. But our first destination and overnight stay was to Wakayama which is a short train journey taking exactly 46 minutes on the Hanwa & Kansaikuko local train line.
Since we had been traveling nearly 24 hours we did not want to spend more time traveling so the short journey to Wakayama to visit the castle, gardens and zoo was a great chill out and relax rest of the day especially as the weather was sooo different from back home being clear blue sky and around 23c!
It was about a 30minute walk from our hotel which was located next to the station to the castle grounds, it was good to stretch the old legs. On our way we stopped off at a seven eleven, which are everywhere and convenient, for a sandwich and coffee to refuel.
Wakayama Castle’s construction started around 1585, when Hideyoshi Hashiba instructed his brother Hidenaga to start and oversee the castle build and Mt. Torafusa. But in 1600, after the battle of Sekigahara, Yoshinaga Asano took over the castle and so continued its construction. In 1619, Yorinobu, son of leyasu Tokugawa came the new lord of the castle…he then preformed major improvements to the castle walls, with multiple interconnecting towers. The entire site is now considered a Historic Landmark with important cultural properties.
It was great to absorb the history walking around castle and gardens, we’ll let the pictures finish off.
Back to the hotel to check in, freshen up then out for our first main Japanese meal, pork cuttles and a beer or two…Oishii desune.
Despite it being half a day, we still walked around 6 miles…
Also, we now have a website which is solely dedicated to our travels in Japan. Please visit www.japanguiding.com to read all our articles about the locations we have visited in Japan.
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