Inuyama…

Today, I went with my friend Kazue to Inuyama, to see Japan’s oldest castle (more tourist information can be found here: http://www.city.inuyama.aichi.jp/english/index.html).  After a train ride to Inuyama Yuen Station, we took a boat ride along the Kiso River to Inuyama Jo (Inuyama Castle).

The boat ride was very cool!  There were maybe 30 people to a boat, with a man at each end to drive.

At times it got quite choppy and we had to hang on a bit and cover up so we didn’t get too wet!

The man on the end of the boat near us had some bread, and he threw it up to feed the birds which were circling.  I don’t know what kind of birds they were, but they seemed like birds of prey and were really big!

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I actually saw the bird catch the bread in its claws – it was quite amazing!

Inuyama Jo was decorated for Golden Week, and for Kodomo no hi, much like everywhere else right now.  There were lots of carp flags everywhere – very pretty!

From the outside, the castle looked a lot like other Japanese castles I’ve seen:

But inside it was quite different.  First, no shoes were allowed to be worn!

I’ve done this in temples before, but never in a castle, I don’t think.  I don’t mind usually, but the stairs inside were wooden, polished, and very steep!!  I learnt a new word today: こわい.  It means ‘scary’!  It was very appropriate for walking down the stairs – I feared for my life at one point – and long flared jeans were definitely a mistake! 😉  (Amusingly, こわい sounds a lot like かわいい (cute)…)

We even saw some haiku in the castle grounds! (Of course, I can’t read these, but Kazue assured me they were haiku!) 🙂

On the way back to the station we stopped for an iced macha break, naturally…

It was different to a Starbucks one, but very yummy indeed!

It was a really great day! I think especially so because I did so many things which would have been difficult to do as a foreigner who doesn’t speak much Japanese and can’t read many kanji if I had been on my own. Even the place we had lunch would have been impossible on my own, unless I wanted to just point and hope I got lucky!

ありがとうございました かずえさん! (*o*)/

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