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  • Day24

    Himeji and Kobe

    October 29, 2019 in Japan ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    We decided to do a day trip from Kyoto to the cities of Himeji and Kobe as recommended by so many people here. We took the Shinkansen JR train to Himeji which only took about 55 minutes, to complete the 130 kilometre journey.

    Firstly, we visited the beautiful Himeji Castle. We had to take off our shoes to go inside the main keep and walked through the six floors to the top with great views across the city. Then we went into the Nishi-no-maru Bailey where we walked through the long corridor and learned about the history of how the castle was built. Next door to the castle were the Koko-en gardens, which was made up of lots a little gardens with various different themes.

    After lunch in Himeji we got a ‘super rapid express’ train to Kobe city, which took only 15 minutes, to cover the 60 kilometres. In the lovely afternoon sunshine, we walked up the steep hill to see the Nunobiki Waterfalls. We then took a metro train across the city to Fukuju Sake Brewery. Kobe is famous for having lots of sake breweries in a small area. Sake is a Japanese rice wine, usually 15% alcohol. In this little brewery, we learned about how sake is brewed and how the more rice that is used, the more expensive the sake is. We then got to taste different strengths and types of sake wine.

    The most famous thing Kobe is known for, is its beef steak. So we booked into Ishidaya restaurant for some Kobe beef. This was a Teppanyaki style restaurant where we had our own personal chef. We ordered a set menu of sirloin and tenderloin beef. The starter of roasted Kobe beef and crab was served first, before we had mushroom soup. Our chef then came out to start his spectacle. He first laid out the various vegetables including potato jelly, Chinese cabbage, Japanese vegetables and stuffed mushrooms. He then poured out the various salts and sauces onto our plates and explained the best way to eat them with the steak. We also got a serving of boiled and fried rice. The meat was lovely and tender but a little salty for my liking. We finished off dinner with apple pie and ice cream for dessert.

    It was a lovely day and great to see another side of Japanese and experience some local culture and cuisine. It was one of my favourite days of the trip.
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