Day Thirteen: Matsuyama

We woke up early today to see the high tide at Itsukushima shrine but sadly found that the tide hadn’t come in yet.  We returned to the hotel for an early breakfast before heading out on ferry and train rides back to Hiroshima and then on to Matsuyama.  Today was mostly a day of travel.  Upon arrival in Hiroshima, we took the street car all the way to Hiroshima port, where we boarded another ferry and made our way towards Matsuyama. 


Looking out the window of the ferry we were on.


Our ride.


Once we got there we found out we had missed our bus by only a few minutes.  A taxi driver quickly approached us to help with directions as well as offer a ride to our hotel.  Seeing as we’d have to wait an hour for the next bus to come, we decided to take the taxi all the way to our hotel.  Matsuyama is a little different from the other areas of Japan we have seen so far.  Because the public transportation system here isn’t as well established as it is in other areas of Japan, many citizens drive cars to get around. 

We made it to our hotel where we dropped off our luggage and made our way out to get some lunch and head on over to Matsuyama Castle, the last sightseeing we would be doing on our trip.  But first, we were definitely a little overdue for some lunch.  We stopped at an Italian place right across the street from the Matsuyama chair lift station that would take us up to the castle. 


Small Italian lunch place.


After a quick lunch, we headed over to the station and hopped on the chair lift, which was pretty awesome.  It had single person seats with no seatbelts, something unheard of in the States.  The chair lift took us all the way up to the castle in a short time. 


Chair lift to get to Matsuyama Castle.


Matsuyama Castle was built like a fort, with a path comprised of many corners overlooked by towers leading up to the main structure.  Once we entered, we were told to take off our shoes before proceeding through the castle, which is common in Japan.  Many times there are places to drop off your shoes and pick up a pair of slippers whenever this is the case.  More signs of the strategic build of the castle became apparent as we traveled through the building. 


Matsuyama Castle


One of many stairways in the castle.


Closer to the end of the route through the castle, two pairs of samurai armor were placed aside to be worn by visitors.  Of course, we had to try them on. 


Dad the Samurai.


Dun dun dun!!!


After our quick run through the castle, it was time to head back down the chair lift where I was able to take a fun photo of the family. 


Chair lift back down.


After coming back down, Em and I headed over to Okaido, a large mall located right next to our hotel.  The mall is a large stretch of shops which takes about 15 minutes to walk all the way through. we checked out a couple of shops before heading back to the hotel to see how the parents were doing.  


A small portion of the Okaido shopping mall.


We all decided to stay in and enjoy the comforts of the hotel.  On the 14th floor there was a “western” style restaurant that sounded pretty good.  We made our way up and found ourselves a little under dressed.  It ended up being one of those places where you’re supposed to wear suits or dresses and the whole menu is in French.  Stumbling in wearing jeans and my Gundam Cafe shirt must have been an interesting sight.  To amuse my fellow hotel mates and to keep up appearances, I ordered pizza and a beer.  The smirk on the bow-tie wearing waiter didn’t go unnoticed.  After dinner, Em and I decided to hit the bar and use up the last of our yen as it’s worth more than the dollar and changing it back over costs an additional fee.  As you may notice, this blog entry is a little late.  Now you know why 😀

Five hours later, I was waking up to begin the journey home, which includes a seven-hour airport layover, six airports, four airplanes, and over twelve hours of flight on top of that.  Its going to be a long day. 


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