Dallas met us at our hotel this morning as we have all of his bags with us. He just takes what he needs overnight to the hostel each day. We said our farewells and we left for the train station. I hadn’t checked the ticket properly and went to Shin Osaka, when we were supposed to get on at Osaka (I didn’t know there was a difference.) Luckily it was ok as the train we were catching also stopped at Shin-Osaka. That could have had a whole other ending though.
The train wasn’t a Shinkansen, but a limited edition stops. It wasn’t as fast as a Shinkansen as it only clocked speeds of about 130 km/hour. It meant that we could look out the window though and see the beautiful countryside we were passing. It was our longest train trip in one stretch in terms of time, yet I’m not sure if it was the longest distance.
We arrived into Kanazawa and the train station is very modern and easy to navigate. Phil was in charge of Google maps to get us to the hotel (which was only a 5 minute walk from the station). Phil got us there (or I should say Google Maps eventually got us there). We were able to store the bags at the hotel (it was around 1:30 pm), but check in wasn’t until 3:00pm. The weather today was beautiful, sunny and warm. We decided to head straight to Kenroku-en Garden. We caught a cab up there as we just wanted to get there to have more time in the garden. We since discovered that there is a shuttle bus that you can use for 200 JPY each person for each trip.
As we drove through Kanazawa, it became apparent that it was a bigger town than we had first thought. As we were driving up to the gardens, the street leading up there was lined with souvenir shops in an old fashioned style, cherry blossom trees and beautiful lanterns. It looked so beautiful.
We paid our entrance into the gardens and didn’t know where to go first. We settled on a direction and we were off. The Kenroku-en Garden is considered one of the top 3 gardens in Japan. It was absolutely stunning. It’s hard to describe in words the feeling that this garden evoked. There was a sense of peace and calm, which is hard to achieve with hundreds of people, tour groups and school children weaving around. There were pockets that were almost secluded and amazingly peaceful.
The scenery, you just sat there with your eyes wide open, drinking it all in. My eye would be caught by something and I would think, ‘Wow! That’s so beautiful!’ and then turn my head slightly, ‘Wow! That is so beautiful!’. Take a few steps and ‘Wow! That is so beautiful!’ This continued everywhere we went. My bag was so heavy as it was set up for travelling, not touring, so we would find a spot for Phil to sit and I would be off with the camera, trying to capture it all. It was so beautiful that I’ve decided I would like to have this kind of garden at home. Phil said he would get it sorted when we get back. Yeah! Right!??
I love water and taking photos with water and this garden had many ponds, creeks and even a waterfall. We walked all around the garden once, and then headed back to my favourite spot to get the late afternoon light. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the stone lantern properly as we needed to be there in the morning light to capture it properly, but I’m happy with how those photos turned out, given the light we had.
We had decided to walk back to the hotel. Google Maps was telling us it was a 30 minute walk and it’s the way we get to know a city. Unfortunately, my knees were so sore from all of the walking that we had already done, so it took a little longer. We didn’t walk through any area that had shopping or restaurants, so that was disappointing.
We ended up back at Kanazawa Station to find some food to eat for dinner. We found a German Bakery (that was the shop’s name) and ended up getting some sandwiches from there. Their orange and poppy seed muffin was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was amazing.
We headed back to the hotel and got there about 6:30 pm. Dallas was at Tokyo, Narita ready for his flight back to Sydney. I was absolutely shattered. My knees were really quite painful, so I took some Voltaren, and some Panadol as well – it was that bad. I crashed really early and slept so well.