Day 8-9 Osaka and Himeji

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long looooonnnnnngggggg delay in posting. 2015 has been quite a hectic year for us what with moving house 3 times and planning a wedding and then of course, getting married!!! We would like to post photos of the wedding day but as it is life in 2016 is still crazy busy with work and other things getting in the way. 

But!!! I want to get back into the swing of things and get the ball rolling again for our travel blog posts. Not only for the sake of getting it done but also because I'm worried my memory might fail me if I leave it for too long. And there's also the little issue of posts accumulating as it already has!!! Ooops >.<

Alright so my last Japan post had us in Kyoto but our next day found us in Osaka! We stayed at the Peace House Showa. We arrived at night and it was raining so not too much fun but at least it cleared up by morning. 

I was a bit unprepared for how windy and cold it would be though and didn't dress warmly enough :/

On our way to the castle, we walked along the river and the park near it. Love how the sakura petals have formed a sea of pink on the water <3

A few photos we took along the way...

Tarps spread on the ground for people to hanami (flower watch).

Tarps spread on the ground for people to hanami (flower watch).

Stalls selling food and drinks for people who are hanami-ing 

Stalls selling food and drinks for people who are hanami-ing 

Sea of petals!

Sea of petals!

And finally the castle comes into view!

The first of our photos with Tora and Snakey! 

The first of our photos with Tora and Snakey! 

That was pretty much our day in Osaka. We had been to Osaka previously so we didn't want to spend too much time there. 


The next day we went on our day trip to Himeji which is about an hour and a half by train from Osaka to visit Himeji Castle. To our surprise, we found out that they had a sakura viewing festival going on at the time and also a food festival of sorts happening outside the castle near the main shopping street (more on that later!).

The unfortunate thing was that Himeji was undergoing restorations at the time so a large part of the castle was covered in scaffolding. Boo :/

We also got to listen to a Japanese orchestra with lots of women wearing kimono and playing traditional Japanese instruments.

And of course there has to be a ninja!

Just chillin'

Just chillin'

The other activity that we went for was the tea ceremony. Obviously this wasn't your completely traditional tea ceremony but it was nice to just be able to go in and try it out. There were lots of desks and chairs set up - somewhat classroom looking and the tea ceremonylasy sits at the front and prepares the tea there. Once it's done, other ladies come to help with serving the tea and Japanese sweets to guests.

There were quite a lot of stalls within the castle grounds selling all sorts of produce including apples, sake and fish cakes!

While we were walking around, we came across this little temple/shrine with pretty sakura!

This entire sakura was tied with little bits of paper like this one - I think they're probably from omikuji - Japanese fortune telling.

This entire sakura was tied with little bits of paper like this one - I think they're probably from omikuji - Japanese fortune telling.

A few artsy photos around the area before moving on and MF found a pond with lots of water insects and decided to climb onto a rock to investigate...

The ninjas are back!! 

This is Shiromaruhime who is the mascot of Himeji castle. I think the name in itself is a pun - Shiro is castle but shiro also means white and maru is round so white/castleroundprincess?? Lol. I love Japan and their puns. While we were outside the castle grounds we explored the food fair and bought some ekisoba and manjuu - more on the food in this post.

This is Shiromaruhime who is the mascot of Himeji castle. I think the name in itself is a pun - Shiro is castle but shiro also means white and maru is round so white/castleroundprincess?? Lol. I love Japan and their puns.

While we were outside the castle grounds we explored the food fair and bought some ekisoba and manjuu - more on the food in this post.

The Himeji zoo is located just next to the castle and they had an open day because of the sakura festival so people could just walk in for free - which we did ^^v It was a small zoo but they had quite a variety of animals including two lions that happened to be mating when we saw them lol.

We finally managed to get a bit of a shot of the castle without scaffolding! It's kind of pathetic I know...

We finally managed to get a bit of a shot of the castle without scaffolding! It's kind of pathetic I know...

And that was the end of our day trip in Himeji! 

Next stop... Kyushu!!