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!
Next we headed to the Achi shrine on the hill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More photos can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cragg-ohlsson/archives/date-taken/2015/10/10/.