Traveling across Southern Japan, I'm realizing again why I stopped traveling extensively: Its too darned expensive to get anywhere and do anything. I am so overbudget right now, it is not even funny.
Nevertheless, I can report that Himeji Castle is the most spectacular castle I have ever seen, anywhere. Elegant, old, and all in a stunningly beautiful setting on a hill surrounded by parks. I only wish I could have been there when the cherry blossoms were blooming. Pictures coming soon!
I also went to Hiroshima to see the Atomic Bomb Dome. That's right folks, I stood at ground zero! Like the Alamo, the famous ruins of the world's first nuclear attack are smaller in real life. It apparently used to be a regional industrial showcase forum for local companies to promote their products. They light the place up at night and its quite pretty. Hiroshima itself is quite nice and otherwise indistinguishable from other Japanese cities of its size. Like most Japanese cities that were bombed extensively, it has the trademark wide avenues on a more logical grid pattern planned during the reconstruction.
Besides being the site of a nuclear holocaust, Hiroshima is also famous for okonomiyaki (a Korean pancake thing, but I don't know what they call it over here.) Only in Hiroshima, they stuff it full of noodles before frying it. Its pretty good but I'm not sure how to describe it to someone who has no idea what I'm talking about. Its not too bad on the budget either.
Unfortunately, I had to catch a bus early the next morning (to save money) and couldn't spend much time in the museum as I would have liked. So I went further South to stay with a friend I met on the internet who lives in a secure undisclosed location (like Dick Cheney)!