(March 19)

Next morning, after a good night's sleep, we waited for our first Shinkansen train.

They are very impressive when they sweep into the station and they are ALWAYS on time. Most seats are reserved so passengers know where to join the train and don't have to push and shove to get a seat. Again, most passengers wore masks, although it wasn't required.

These trains go FAST. 

This was the fastest we recorded, but they do go even faster on some lines.

Our reason for visiting Himeji was to see the Himeji Castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There were fortifications on the site in the 1400's, but the present castle was completed in 1609.

The castle is built entirely from wood and was extensively restored between 2010 and 2015. 

We took the walking tour through the interior of the castle and climbed all the way to the top.

The interior of the castle - built like a wooden ship

There was a nice view of the grounds and the city from the top of the building.

Outside the castle grounds, but within easy walking distance, was the Kokoen Garden, which was opened in 1992, so quite a recent addition.

That night, we enjoyed an excellent Thai meal at a local restaurant, with a Karaoke Club next door. Fortunately, they kept the door to the club closed, or we wouldn't have been able to hear ourselves think !