Blogs from Hyogo, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Hyogo December 8th 2019

The locals thought we were absolutely mad! It was the wrong season!!!!!! We had tried to go on this excursion in the winter time but alas, it is such an enjoyable local activity that no accommodation was available. What is it? Well its going to an onsen town (some would say the best in Japan) and staying overnight so that you can wander from onsen - hot water bath either inside or outside which are sex segregated and where you soak naked for as long as you like - to onsen between 7am and 11pm. Its a thoroughly relaxing and somewhat hedonistic activity. I have to say that it far more enjoyable when it is cold and even snowing - but we had time at the end of summer school holidays and despite the temperatures being ... read more
yukate robed holiday makers
stork on the light post
closer view of the stork from the road

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji November 16th 2019

Himeji Castle is recognized as Japan's most magnificent castle, particularly after its recent five-year renovation, and certainly deserves its moniker White Heron Castle. Built in 1580 by general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country's twelve original castles. There's a five-story main keep and three smaller keeps, all surrounded by moats and defensive walls. Himeji Castle may be familiar to visitors because of its being featured in films such as Kurosawa Akira's Seven Samurai (1954) , James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967) and Ran (1985). You should begin your tour of Himeji Castle exploring the surviving royal residential building with an enclosed corridor and multiple unfurnished rooms, which provides a completely different experience than the main building. Visiting the main ... read more
Chicken Eikben
Himeji with the Castle in the Distance
Himeji Castle

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe September 7th 2019

8-17-2019 Kobe, Japan Kobe nam tren island of Honshu thuoc Hyogo Prefecture, khoang 1.5 trieu dan va la thanh pho lon thu 6 nuoc Nhat. Vao nam 1995 tran dong dat lon nhat Japan sau tran 1923, xay ra tai day voi 6,000 bi giet va 300,000 can nha bi sap. Dong dat 6.9 xay ra ngay 1-17-1995 tan pha Kobe mat $200 ty My Kim. Dong dat keo dai 20 giay. Day la tran dong dat lon nhat cua Nhat trong 100 nam sau tran dong dat o Great Kanto nam 1023 giet chet 105,000 nguoi. Kobe la thanh pho lon thu 6 cua Nhat. Co 1.5 trieu dan song tai day. Truoc ten la Kanbe den nam 1956 doi thanh Kobe. Tran dong dat 1995 tan pha hau het Kobe. Kobe cung co ten ... read more

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji August 24th 2019

Summer came, the humidity rose and the termperatures became unusual in that days were 34. 35. 36 instead of just 30 but alas the humidity sat between 80 and 95%!!!! So have wonderful friends come to visit. Two things collide happily - its summer and holidays for Japanese people and lots of those who live in the northern hemishphere and holiday in their school summer holidays in Japan so there is lots of entertainment; and Jacinta could join in the fun, somewhat free from work but not completely on holidays as Australian teachers would be. I've never managed to be in the right place at the right time to see the internationally famous puppet company based in Osaka called Banraku. They do travel, but we managed to go with my friends Ea and Molly. For readers ... read more
the stage photo of our performance
the puppeteers and a puppet off stage
the stage for a performance from the brochure

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji July 19th 2019

. Last night we joined Mitchie and Shingo for dinner and a concert. The performers were two highly skilled and fantastic performers who played shamisen. Yes they wore the kimono in their poster for the first half of their two hour concert I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d give you access to them if you’re interested.The blog can’t host the video, but these links should help from u tube read more

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji July 9th 2019

To reacclimatise to Himeji, Jacinta organised for me to attend a cultural performance at the Sosha Shrine which is in the heart of Himeji, just below the castle. We were accompanied by Kasumi who is a member of the shrine. Two amazing facts about the visit: It was the first I'd heard of Gagaku, and the whole event was catered to English speaking tourists - a first in Himeji for me. Unfortunately we were the only two obvious ones at the event and consequently have been immortalised on many digital recordings of the event. Gagaku is music and dance from about 1500 years ago formerly performed in the Imperial court. I think this would have been in Kyoto. However, the company bringing back this cultural art form are from Kobe city, about 30 minutes away by ... read more
our performance MC and English interpreter
one of the drummers
Ryuteri player

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe June 27th 2019

Thursday, 27th June 2019 It was raining in the morning as I made my way to the city of Kobe. The train ride to JR Kobe Station from Himeji took about an hour and very soon I was making my way out of the station towards the direction of Kobe Harborland. This is where Kobe meets the ocean and where the children's amusement park is located. On the right side of the harborland lies the Meriken Park, home to the "BE KOBE" sign as well as one of the most beautiful Starbucks by the sea. The views of the Kobe Port Tower and the iconic Oriental Hotel is unparallel from the Meriken Park. After a pasta lunch in the city centre, I made my way to the UCC Coffee Museum which was reachable after a short ... read more
Breakfast Japanese style
On the journey to Kobe
Meriken Park, Kobe

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji June 26th 2019

Wednesday, 26th June 2019 My second half of the day was spent onboard the Nozomi N700 Shinkansen services to the city of Himeji, some 455km away on the island of Honshu. It was amazing that the journey only took slightly less than two hours to complete. The Japanese bento lunch box that I had onboard was a good mix of seaweed, eggs and minced pork which tasted great as usual. By 5.49pm, my train had pulled into Himeji Station where Dormy Inn was another 5 minutes' walk away from the South Exit. I am always excited to stay at Dormy Inn with its in-house onsen facilities as well as complimentary ramen in the evenings. Also, I noticed that the room is normally more spacious than the standard business hotel rooms in Japan. Himeji made an ideal ... read more
Happy Bento
Longevity ramen for dinner

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe May 25th 2019

Kobe was a safe haven for Jews fleeing Europe in 1940 and 1941. Jews started coming to Japan in the 1860s, when Japan was opened to trade. There quickly became a small population of Jewish businessmen in Kobe, along with the other port cities of Yokohama and Nagasaki. By the early 1900s there existed a Zionist organization and well established Jewish community in Kobe, and its first synagogue, Ohel Shelemo, was constructed in 1912. When trade with Russia declined in Nagasaki prior to the Russo-Japanese War and the great Kanto earthquake struck Yokohama in 1923, the majority of the Jewish population in Japan ended up in Kobe. As the Jews fled Europe and settled in Kobe, there was a well-off Jewish community of about 1000 people and 50 families. The community was composed primarily of Sephardim ... read more
Ohel Shlomo synagogue in Kobe Kitano

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Kobe May 24th 2019

Our last touring day in Japan! We went down to breakfast. We had told the hotel that we were vegetarian, and that we ate no meat but we would eat fruit and salad. Our breakfast arrived. We were each given a huge tray on which were five different fruit juices, a bowl of coconut milk with semolina, a small bowl of yoghurt, a big bowl of fruit. Then a third tray arrived and was placed between our trays on the table. On that tray was a box of bread, a tray of baguettes, a pot of coffee, a saucer with three different butters and preserves. We are not takers of food pictures, but we had to take pictures of this breakfast!! See it pictured on Day 21, our last monring in Kobe. . Sated, at 9 ... read more
Weathercock House from original European settlers
Starbucks now in an old European house
Kitano Tenjin shrine with Plum symbol

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