March 30, 2014
It started raining as we ate dinner last night. It rained all night. As we left the hotel in Ise, we had to fight the wind to save our umbrellas. It was a portend of a tough day.
We boarded our first train at 9:30 in Ise. Things started to go south in Nagoya when we needed to switch trains. We thought we were on a through train to Osaka. Figured that out but each switch means hauling luggage up stairs, escalators or elevators if we are lucky.
When we reached Osaka we found out that the Shinkansen train that we were waiting for was not available on the rail pass. Up and over to another train track and an hour wait. We reached Hiroshima around 3:30 and caught a local to Miyajima Guchi where we boarded a Ferry for a quick ride to Miyajima Island. It is considered one of the three most picturesque places in Japan.
Peggy collapsed for a little bit while I worked on the mechanics of travel. We gave our very considerate hotel manager/owner a small gift. He grinned from ear to ear. After he stopped bowing and thanking me he returned with a couple of the local Japanese stuffed donuts and a rice scoop. The rice scoop is one of the town symbols. The tame sacred deer and the gargantuan red tori are other signature sights in this town which receives its share of Japanese and Foreign visitors.
We had a nice dinner of udom noodles and beef and some giant grilled oysters. The helped us recover from the travel. Tomorrow we need to retrace some of the same path but we know the way. We will be heading for the mountains north of Tokyo. We usually do better in the mountains.
Don’t get me wrong. The railroad employees are helpful to a fault. It is just that some things get lost in translation. That is our problem not theirs. The trains are spotless and comfortable. We usually find places for the luggage without having to put them in overhead racks. People line up in queues and rarely scramble over each other for seats. We will probably learn the ropes in time to leave Japan.
We managed a little photo shooting after dinner. We were joined by dozens of others. Many had obviously professional or very expensive stuff. It was fine. We will try to get a few pictures in the morning since the sun is supposed to be out.