Monday 9 May 16
24 hours after leaving home we arrived in Osaka without hitch, apart from the plane being 20 minutes late due to a strong headwind. This caused a bit of a panic when we had to buy the train tickets to Kanazawa in an office with a big queue and four clerks who made a sloth look quick. We just got our tickets with no time to spare and rushed onto the train to Shin Osaka. Fortunately the train was late , although my previous faith in Japanese railways has now been irretrievably ruined as it was also late into Shin Osaka. Luckily again the connection to Kanazawa waited for us and we set off almost 10 minutes late.
The plane landed through a misty grey sky with falling rain. Welcome to Japan. We knew we could expect rain during our two week stay, but not the minute we landed. By eleven o’ clock we saw the rain stop and just a wisp of blue sky was occasionally visible. Arrived in Kanszawa mid afternoon and went to bed for three hours to recover before evening meal for 16 of us at Suchi Restaurant.
Tuesday 10 May.
a breakfast at the Apa Hotel. Japanese style, of course, with breads, rice,scrambled egg, fish, croissants etc,etc. Very nice. A free day so went around the Kenrokuen Garden, which was originally the outer garden of the Kanazawa Castle, with its leisurely style of manicured trees, water courses with arched bridges and stepping stones and very old trees whose trunks are hollow and the branches propped up to save from damage. The garden is also the situation of an 18th century rest house with its katami mats, paper walls and multi layered wooden tiled roof. We had a guided tour of the castle, which is a narrow building 50 katami long. This measure is that of the Katami mat of 1.8 metres. The castle has had many uses over the last 400 years; home the Samurai, armed forces, local government and the university. The gardens are very impressive with their ponds and bonsai trees and walls with precision cut stones and steps. One set of steps to the castle are cut with odd and random sized steps to cause the invading enemy to fall. Tonight we collect our bikes and get a briefing for tomorrow and our trip across Japan.
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