On Tuesday morning Yuko took Oli, Verena and me on a little road trip to Himeji. She had told us that now would be the perfect time to visit the castle there because it had just been renovated and was all shiny and white - in a few years it would fade back to grey.
The drive took about 1,5 hours which Yuko called "not far" :-) About a third of it alone was spent driving out of Osaka which is really huge with its about 8.8 million inhabitans!
The castle is indeed very beautiful - as you will see from many angles!
This is as far as we could get - the rest of the castle will only be open again after March 2015. It's totally worth a visit!
Originals and replicas of samurai armour
There are still a lot of traditional style houses here, complete with trimmed trees.
It was already mid-afternoon and time for lunch. Yuko had found a recommendation for a small but good ramen restaurant, so we went there. The place was very simple and had no menu - you just get ramen, that's it! And it was indeed delicious.
After arriving back in Osaka we still had some time which Oli and me used for another shopping excursion. This totally counts as cultural experience!
Instead of one of the big department stores we chose to go to another shopping arcade, as they are typical for Osaka. You can walk on for a loooong time and see many little shops.
I also like to check out kitchen supply shops, they often have things that are specific to a country - like this chop stick display.
In the evening we all went for a walk together. First to pick up Shinichi from work. As almost everybody in the family he works in the medical field.
He has a little clinic for ambulant treatments and operations and proudly showed us around the various rooms and his big machines.
Then we continued our way through the nightly Osaka.
It's interesting to see that Chinese food is different here, the dishes don't come in as much sauce as they do in Europe.
Everybody ate until we just could't anymore!