6000 MABA trip report – Day 10 – Train tracks

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Today was another move day so we packed up, grabbed breakfast and headed out at check out time 11am. It was a gorgeous sunny day today and the hotel koi pond was reflecting light dots up onto the little roof above. It was lovely to watch.

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We were off to Hiroshima and I thought that we had a bit more time than we needed to ‘do’ the area there, so stayed a bit longer in Kyoto, leaving our bags at the hotel.

A quick stop for Adam for his much loved grape Fanta and we were off.

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First up was Nino-ji castle, which was walking distance from the hotel (about 25 mins) so made sense now we had no bus pass. The tickets were purchased from a vending machine in the wall (standard) for anyone who is planning a visit.

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The castle had a palace inside which we went to check out in the name of travel blogging. Adam was a bit over the temples and palaces by this point (we have like 10 days to go.. uh oh) but he obliged and came round with me.

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The thing I found really interesting about this palace is that it has nightingale floors, which squeak with the tiniest movement making a sound like a nightingale bird. Its a really unique noise – but imagine if you will – a whole forest of them but strangely hushed – and that’s what you get when hundreds of people are walking across this at once. It makes for a very strange atmosphere.

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I’ve no pictures or video inside as the walls all have huge murals on them, or at the least replicas, which are incredibly fragile and don’t like sunlight or flashes.

The originals were painted by the shoguns family and heirs in many instances and even the replicas are stunning. In most cases they were almost golden backgrounds, with painted trees or animals on them. My particular favourites were the tigers and peacock ones as the colours against the gold were spectacular.

Back outside there were further ponds and gardens (a big thing over here) and plenty of cherry blossoms just coming in to bloom.

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The gardens were as per all the others – perfect – I really am a fan of the Japanese garden now.

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There is a viewing platform still on site, which must have been some sort of defense jobbie previously, but now overlooks the moat and gardens. Worth a look, even if your legs are giving up. Its not that high… like a normal set of stairs in a big house to be honest but we were both pretty trashed so felt like so much more!

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After a good wander round we departed with rumbling stomachs. We ended up going back to the restaurant we’d eaten in on our first night. It was on the way back to the hotel, the food was good, filling and a bargain – what more can you ask? So – usual please!

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Post lunch we were subway bound (230Y) to Kyoto main station to grab some tickets to Hiroshima on the bullet train.

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After a massive faff around trying to find the ticket window, and then further faff trying to find the right platform (all wearing huge over packed rucksacks) we made it. Not only that, but this time we were in the green car.

I love the green car. Flashbackers we may be – but I don’t care. The shinkansen is awesome regardless, but the green car is just epic. Look at how much space you get!!

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After a thoroughly enjoyable train journey (who knew they even existed?) we arrived at Hiroshima station about 5.30 and walked the 9 minutes to our hostel.

This was Adams first experience in a hostel, and quite frankly he was terrified. He really had no need to be, it was not a bad hostel (Hiroshima Hana) and we had a private double room with an ensuite.

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This one required shoes off though so wandering around in slippers was a new experience!

The hostel had a little washing room up on the roof terrace (of course you’d put your washing machines up there… who has them inside these days?!), and plenty of info in the foyer (which is why I love hostels).

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The living room and kitchen had a beer vending machine (of course), a guitar, and kids toys along with books and dvds.

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It was getting close to nosh time again and we’d spotted somewhere advertising teppenyaki on our street so staying local was the aim and off we went.

Now as far as ‘eating like locals’ goes – this was it. No english spoken. No english on the menus at all, and all other patrons clearly families who live locally.

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So google translate got involved and we pointed and gestured our way to two massive piles of… stuff. I’ve since learned that this is okinomiyaka. Essentially a pancake with noodles, lettuce, beansprouts and sauce.

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Also known as a plate of carby yummy goodness.

Mine came with rice and cheese which is what google translate had told us. Adam ordered a ‘meat’ one which came with some sort of pink stuff. We are apparently never talking about this again as we still don’t know what it was, and I don’t think he wants to know either.

The sauce on these is out of this world good, and I am absolutely intending to try and recreate its beauty at home. Along with the rest of the tower of deliciousness.

Suitably stuffed full of food, we waddled to the nearby shop to pick up breakfast items for a speedy exit the next day. And came home with a verifiable feast.

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Including one of those ice cream sandwiches.

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Which I then ate.

A few hours later I really regretted eating all those carbs and sugar for dinner.

Rice, noodles, pancakes, cheese, ice cream wafer sandwiches and chocolate bread are not a good combo when I am meant to be on low GI! All i’ll say is that I am extremely glad we had an ensuite. Grim.


6000 MABA TR – Day 9 – Golden showers

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** NB: My photo allowance on wordpress is already getting a tad tight, so am trying out embedding images with HTML code – bear with me if it looks a bit odd! **

Today was a bit mixed weather wise but that didn’t put us off, we were mountain climbers now see.

With that in mind, and our new knowledge of how simple the buses were, we jumped onto one headed for Kinkakuji temple – the golden one on a pond. Pretty symbolic of Kyoto and I was desperate to see it in the flesh, so off we went. Tickets purchased (biggest tickets I have ever seen) and no tripods understood (gutted) we were in.

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Straight up its a stunner. The gold leaf makes it look like its glowing, and its grounds are pretty epic.


It sits off a massive koi carp pond, surrounded by gardens.

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Once i’d shot it from all angles (sans tripod) we continued through the path to see the shrine and mini waterfall. Both very pretty. There was also an old tea house part way round (that’s the darker room pic).

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At the end of the grounds – there’s a vending machine (obviously) but this one sells ICE CREAM SANDWICHES. The excitement. I didn’t partake – but was still pleased to know these existed.


We then got a pretty busy bus over to our next stop, Tenryu-ji temple and the bamboo forest. Its quite a way over to that area and it takes 2 buses and about 45 minutes but it is well worth it.

It was nearing lunchtime and we didn’t want a repeat of yesterday so headed up the main street to ‘crossing-moon’ bridge (look Dad – we saw a bridge – I took a photo just for you!) and found somewhere with a view over to eat lunch.


On the street by the river you could also catch a cart pulled by a person as a tour around the area. You definitely read that right – a cart – pulled by a person. We didn’t go on in case they made us go into two carts… or took one look at me and shook their heads… could you imagine?!


So naturally, more food was in order after these considerations and we went for a ‘hamburger’ set menu. I like to think this is half way between american and japanese food. There was soup (japanese) but it was cheese (american). Then there was hamburger (american) but served with rice and salad (japanese). Overall I really enjoyed this one as I was getting a bit desperate for something different. Adam picked this one so boy did good! Nice view too. (The bridge not Adam, though he’s not too bad either…)

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Post food we headed back down the strip to the temple and the sun started making its way through the clouds – hurrah!

This temple was pretty big and you could go in and have a look around (minus shoes of course). So look around we did. Adam was apparently reminded of Shenmue (some random Japanese video game) so was somewhat exciteable. On that note – I hope you’re looking forward to his guest blog review of super potato?! I know I am. (Imagine my face right now…)



Back to the temple. We took some photos in some of the rooms to prove we’d been here. I think someone else was doing the whole kneeling on the floor like a geisha move so we joined in too. #sheepIMG_0268IMG_0277








Once outside of the temple the gardens were stunning. Easily my favourite of the ones we saw in Kyoto.


There was an ornamental garden with a stream running through part of the temple walkway.


A huge koi pond. Loving the koi ponds – I might have been won over on these. I reckon I could manage a pretty decent size one at our house…


Cherry blossoms a plenty. As well as fountains nearby.

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There were massive sections of flowers as well as further buildings and ornaments, and a zen stone garden too which I also love. Getting a lot of garden inspiration over in Japan!


It really was a stunning garden and we’d really enjoyed our visit to this one.

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Further round there was an exit into the famous bamboo forest which we obviously had to go and check out. It was bright sunshine but the bamboo shuts much of it out – its quite eerie but very cool! It was quite busy so my photos aren’t what i’d hoped for but you should get a flavour of the place.


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Out of the forest we found a little market with shrines around it which was interesting, but we’re on a souvenir ban so just looked.

In leui of souvenirs – guess what we got. Yep you got it… more food!!

Adam went for a steamed bun, and I went for a chocolate gelato. Mine won. Think Adam went for a pork one and didn’t enjoy it as much as he had the day before.


We were both in need of a rest by this point so headed back to the hotel for a vending machine beer and a blog catch up. Much required.


For dinner that evening we decided it would be nice to go out for something a bit different and really fancied steak. I’d been looking for a teppenyaki restaurant and found one with good reviews but no prices so we thought we’d go have a look to see.
Turns out it was faaaar too expensive, so we went over the road to a place called Meet Bowl, where you have a fire pit in the centre of your table and cook your own.

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They are a fan of cooking your own here… I’m not sure if its laziness or whether they are too polite to either get things wrong, or whether the people who go out to eat are too polite to assume things are cooked for you. (Its none of the above I know…)

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We both went for the round steak cut of the day, with a green salad. Adam managed to convey ‘no dressing’ which was good. God love google translate.

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The steak was very very tasty and i’d ordered some garlic prawns too which were fab and came with mushrooms that Adam appreciated.

I had gone for a sweet potato shochi with soda and really had to force it down, it was a bit like gin which I struggle to drink (it does happen). Adam went for a whiskey and ginger ale which he loved (I tried some and have to admit it was delicious!)

Think this came to about 6,000 yen ish, which works out about $60. I can cope with about £40 though was still hungry.

I’d found a nearby craft ale bar online so we headed there for a few more drinks – it turned out to be an irish bar (comedy) and was playing an oasis live album so Adam thoroughly enjoyed it. They also served bar snacks so we had a dessert of caprese and margherita pizza. Classic.

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We were both in need of extra food so it hit the spot.

Adam had a couple of Japanese ales (untappd has recorded them of course) and I went for an outsider peach cider, which tasted amazing but smelt like vom so I powered through two thirds then gave up. I wasn’t having much luck with drinks today.

After a few drinks at the irish bar we decided against going to another one as we had to move on tomorrow so headed back for some much needed shut eye.