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Justin Schultz
11 days ago
On the final day of our trip we were a bit tired but still wanted to see a few things and just casually enjoy our time. We ended up going to Marugame Castle as our first destination. It was really cool as it's one of the 12 castles in Japan that still has an original castle keep. The castle itself isn't very large, but the area surrounding it is. From the bottom of the castle the keep is quite small so it's hard to get a good photo of it, but we got a photo of it with one of the turrets along the moat wall which was cool. We reserved a rickshaw ride the previous night as well so when we got to the castle we did a little exploring and then we went on a guided tour around the lower area of the castle. The rickshaw guide was a really nice guy and quite funny as well. Apparently he was a comedian but he enjoyed doing this job as well. He told us a bunch of different things about the castle and it's construction while also telling some jokes occasionally. After the rickshaw tour we climbed our way up to the top of the castle and there were saw really amazing views waiting for us at the top. You could see the entire city almost. We also entered the castle keep, but it was relatively small. It was still nice to see the architecture on the inside but the stairs were a bit scary. They were incredibly steep and I was holding the handrails the entire time going up or down them. After checking out the castle we were pretty hungry and so we decided to get some lunch. Being Kagawa is the udon prefecture we went to an udon specialty restaurant. I haven't been to many udon restaurants so it was kind of a new experience for me. They had it set up kind of like a cafeteria and you go through and choose what you want and other toppings to go with your udon. I didn't see the trays for the extra toppings so I just ended up putting the karaage on top of my udon lol. I got niku udon and it tasted really good. The karaage was a nice touch as well. Not the usual tempura most people get but it went surprisingly well with the soup. After eating we headed towards Nakazu Banshoen, a garden with art exhibits as well. Before getting there we decided to stop by a Lupin-themed cafe though. It was a really tiny shop but we were able to cool off for a bit and relax which was nice since we were walking quite a bit. The garden was quite large and had a lot of different points of interest within it. The stepping stones were fun to cross and the row of torii gates was pretty cool as well. You can definitely take some nice photos with them. And that concludes our trip to Takamatsu! Overall it was a really fun trip and I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't been to Shikoku or Kagawa before. We didn't even get to do everything we were looking at but we still had a blast!
  • Japan
  • Shikoku region
  • Takamatsu
  • Sightseeing
  • Travel
  • Summer
  • Castles
  • Gourmet
  • Udon
  • Japanese garden
Justin Schultz
16 days ago
I've got too many photos to post so I'm making another post today and at least 1-2 more in the next couple days. After visiting Ritsurin Park we headed towards Takamatsu Castle. The castle itself had no castle tower but it still had a really nice garden and the moat was pretty cool as well. They had a boat tour of the moat too, but we didn't think it was as extravagant as the one at Ritsurin Park and we were already tired so we decided to skip it and just tour the castle on foot. There were a variety of different stone lanterns throughout the garden that I thought were pretty cool. I always enjoy seeing the different lantern designs for some reason. Despite not having a castle tower, the turrets themselves were cool to see. After looking at the first castle tower we crossed a bridge that ran over the moat and headed up to the top. Once we got to the top, where the castle tower was previously located, we had a really awesome view of the area and I was able to get a photo of a boat passing through the moat. They were all wearing straw hats and special clothing, which I think was part of the experience. After leaving the castle and heading toward our hotel, we arrived at the second turret and it had a nicer view than from inside the castle. I thought the clouds above it looked quite nice as well. After that we headed to our hotel and rested for a bit and then headed over to a pizza place called PIZZERIA 18 for some dinner. The place had a nice atmosphere and the food was really good as well. We ordered pizza (obviously) and a variety platter as well. It all tasted great. They had Heartland as their nama-beer which I thought was nice. Don't see it very often.
  • Japan
  • Sightseeing
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Summer
  • Takamatsu
  • Shikoku region
  • Castles
  • Gourmet
  • Pizza
Justin Schultz
Apr. 4, 2022
Decided to go back to Gyoda again this weekend. We had such a good time last time we went we decided we wanted to check out the cherry blossoms this spring. Managed to visit some really nice places. We originally wanted to use the rental bicycles that they have in front of the station but we got there past noon and all of them were taken unfortunately. Fortunately for us, it ended up getting a bit colder later on so it actually worked out. We got lucky as there was a really convenient sightseeing bus that rolled through the station to all of the major places in the city every 45 minutes or so. We checked out the cherry blossoms at Gyoda Castle and they had the Hanachozu (花手水, pots of flowers floating in water). We were able to see a few of these throughout the city which was nice. They also had traditional umbrellas on display in a few areas around the castle which was really pretty. After Gyoda Castle we visited the Sakitama Burial Mounds which had some really beautiful views of the cherry blossoms. There was also a flock of herons flying around the area but I wasn't able to get a very good photo of any of them. Luckily we got some great photos of the cherry blossoms and the main mound and had a really enjoyable time. We also stopped by Suijo Park and there were some food stalls in the area, but we got there when everything was just about closed so we only got to see a few of the vendors. We managed to get a really tasty lemonade and a latte though. Both tasted really good. Surprisingly there were a lot of cosplayers at the park. We probably saw like 20-30 people cosplaying using the bridges and cherry blossoms in the area. On the way back to the station we managed saw this river during the bus ride and so we backtracked a little bit after getting to the station (about 5 minutes walking) and got to enjoy some really phenomenal views of the cherry blossoms along the river. There were hardly any people there as well, surprisingly. Overall it was a really awesome time!
  • Japan
  • Sightseeing
  • Spring
  • Cherry blossoms
  • Park
  • Castles
  • Ancient burial mound/Ruins
  • Sunset
  • Saitama Prefecture
  • Photography

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