Japan 2015 Day 28: Kirashiki

Weather: overcast with a shower or two 14°C, high 24°C

Accommodation: Kakure Yado Yuji-Inn.

Eskil woke up at 7:20 and immediately wanted to go downstairs and play with toys and Yuji! Breakfast was at 8, and Eskil really enjoyed having big, fluffy pieces of toast for a change. After breakfast we headed to the tourist information centre to make a booking for the canal boat. We got a 9:30 timeslot. We had a small wander around the streets, when went to the boat ride! It’s just a small canal, but we enjoyed the ride – and Eskil enjoyed wearing a life jacket again. I wish we could have understood the Japanese, but it was still an interesting new perspective. Kurashiki is so beautiful!

Excited to don another lifejacket
Ready for a canal ride
We went for a boat ride on the canal! Bikan quarter, Kurashiki
Boat ride! (Yes, we had to wear those hats.)

After the canal boat ride we wandered through the streets. We went to Ivy Square (and bought a hook for the back of our bathroom door to hang dressing gowns).
Ivy Square is full of ivy
A well cared for mini shrine

Next we headed to the Achi shrine on the hill.

Achi Shrine Onigawara
Stunning roof - Achi Shrine
Achi Shrine - carefully sculpted trees

Then we walked through the arcade street, stopping along the way to buy some train pyjamas for Eskil and some wooden spoons. We checked out the udon restaurant Yuji had recommended as selling the local specialty so we knew where to come for lunch later. We walked through the train station, pausing so Eskil could admire a barber pole. He liked spotting them around Japan.

E likes barber poles

On the other side, bizarrely, there is a square made of elevated walkways, a large clocktower, and fountain in the centre dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen. We happened to be passing at noon, and the top of the clock tower lifts up and there are animatronic depictions of various stories. Very strange.

Hans Christian Andersen Square
Little Mermaid of Kirashiki
Han Christian Andersen Square - Kurashiki
At noon, the clock tower open up!

We found a fair that Yuji mentioned, and Scott and Eskil had their photo taken with a giant green chicken. As you do.
You don't need to understand something to enjoy it

BTW, the prams people use for their dogs in Japan are not repurposed baby prams; they make prams specifically for dogs. As you do.
Dog pram

We walked around looking at stalls and found a cardboard maze and a bouncy castle for children. Eskil loved them!
Inflatable fun
Jumping in the bouncy castle
Cardboard maze

We checked out the shopping centre nearby, which had a dog clothing store and a Thomas the Tank Engine arcade.
This shop sells dog clothes.

We headed back through the square towards ‘our’ side of the station – and happened to be going through at 1 pm when the animatronics were triggered again. We went to the restaurant Yuji had recommended. It was busy, but after a short wait we had GREAT food! Scott and I had the local Kurashiki specialty, Bukkake udon with tempura mochi. Eskil had pork skewers and LOVED them; he ate them all up.
Bukkake udon, Kurashiki specialty
E was pleased with his meal

We walked back through the covered arcade and found a bookshop Yuji thought might have a poster Scott had admired. After a lot of pointing and trying to get our point across, they said they didn’t have any more copies. They showed us another shop on our map that they thought might have it, but it didn’t. Eventually we gave up and were wandering around looking at shops – and I found copies of the poster Scott wanted! It is such a beautiful area to explore.
Historic quarter streets
Interesting siding charred surface
Manicured trees poking out
Beautifully formed downpipes
Posing for photos
I love this roofline. Modern, but I can see nods to the architecture around it.

We were a bit tired from all our walking, so we headed back to the ryokan for a rest, but they were getting ready for a party (Yuji’s birthday and a friend returning from Oz). Eskil played with a very kind girl – Yuji’s neice – who kept getting different toys out for Eskil and playing with them, but I felt a bit uncomfortable and was worried we were in their way.
Playing with monkeys

We went back out, had a coffee, and had a longer wander through the hilltop shrine than we’d had earlier.
Watch house
Zodiac and paper cranes, Kurashiki
Excited at Achi Shrine
Another small alter at Achi Shrine

We spent a lot of time looking for a restaurant, and eventually wound up at the Swan restaurant right next to the ryokan. It was good! We both had the beef donburi set menu. The appetiser was 3 different pates with salad and a bit of beef stew. The beef in the donburi was beautiful, tender, and flavourful; Eskil loved the rice with the donburi sauce. And we had a beer each. Back at the ryokan we hung out in our room. It is a lovely ryokan, and Yuji is SO nice, but Scott and I didn’t find the futons there comfy so didn’t sleep well. Also – it had the worst ‘towels’ of the trip. Scott did not approve.
Smallest 'towel' of the trip.

More photos can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cragg-ohlsson/archives/date-taken/2015/10/10/.

Ready for a canal ride