After our time in Tokyo, Chris and I headed south to a smaller town outside of Nagoya called Okazaki. The bullet train ride was awesome. 350 miles per hour – I think that’s right. Is that right? Really fast. I love how the second picture down gives you an idea that we’re moving fast. The landscape was green and damp. Every open lot seemed to be put to use with agriculture – I thought of farmer Hannah and farmer John as we passed all of the fields.
Met up with an Aussie in Okazaki who asked us if we had plans to visit the Okazaki Castle. “Excuse me? There’s a CASTLE?? Yes, we’d like to see a castle!” He told us which train to get on and off we went. The Okazaki Castle has a rich history (I won’t bore you with the details, but if you a plaque reading history nerd like me – check it out), was destroyed during air raids in WWII and was painstakingly rebuilt to look like the original on the outside and be a modern museum on the inside. There were also more rock walls….pictured below. 🙂
We eyed this restaurant and had to go. We walked in and it was by far the most traditional style restaurant we’d witnessed so far.
And the menu look like this….. Uh-oh. No pictures….(well, except for the treble clef, the mushroom and the slice of cheese [?]) Chris used Japanese I hadn’t heard him use yet, the waitress shook her head and then disappeared. No dinner for us?? Shortly after a young man who looked to be a bus boy or dish washer showed up looking kind of nervous and trying very hard to demonstrate that he knew some (very little) English. Chris used the word recommendation and the kid perked up a little. He pointed at one of the options and said pork and then pop-u-lar. and then another option and said stom-ach and pop-u-lar. We said we’d take one of each. Both were fantastic.
Oooo! And the booth looked like this below. We stepped down into the booth and the table was level with the floor outside the booth. Sliding door closed. Totally awesome.
And somehow I was able to order a san-gu-ria.
The last part of this leg of the adventure was another castle. “I’m sorry…. there’s another CASTLE???” The big city of this part of Japan, Nagoya, sports yet another AMAZING castle and palace. I wasn’t really feeling it when we started this day out – I was disappointed that I couldn’t figure out a way to carve out enough time to get us to Arimatsu to see the cotton shibori that the town is famous for – but I stopped being mopey when we walked into the Hommaru Palace. Again, history nerds – CHECK IT OUT!!! I cried this time when I saw the photo of the Nagoya Castle engulfed in flames after an air strike in WWII. So much destruction. But the community and country went to great lengths to rebuild this castle, just like the Okazaki castle. Looks just like the original on the outside and is a modern museum on the inside. BUT. THEN. Hommaru Palace was the real kicker. They have been rebuilding this palace EXACTLY as it would have been built in the 1600’s. I was honored to be allowed to walk through the parts that they have completed so far. The wood is Cypress. And that’s real gold. And it smelled like the tatami mats on the floor and the wood and the paper. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I hope someday I get to walk through the complete palace – I think it’s supposed to be done sometime in 2018. The last three photos are of the palace. Thanks for reading my rambling tales of our adventure. Kyoto and the Shibori Museum will be next!