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Monday, December 28, 2015

Nine Days in Japan - 14 November 2015

Wakayam Castle
The morning of 14 November was spent exploring the grounds and keep of Wakayama Castle. The three of us, led by Soon Kuan and Kim Wah set off on foot from the hotel to this famous place. At the entrance, we were lucky enough to meet a Japanese gentleman who volunteered to be our guide.

The straw wrapped around the tree is supposed to keep it from freezing in winter!
One of the interesting things he pointed out to us was a 400+ year old tree, which was in fact older than the castle itself.

400+ year old Camphor tree on the grounds of Wakayama Castle.
The tree was a sapling when the castle was first constructed.
The castle was built in 1585, under the aegis of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Although fairly modest in size as castles go, it is historically important due to its close association with the Tokugawa clan.

Gladys, Shona, Tutu, KimWah, Soon Kuan and the Japanese Professor

Wakayama Castle was destroyed by bombs in World War II and most of the present building is a post-war reconstruction, made of modern building materials not the traditional stone.

The tower, (donjon) is now a museum exhibiting samurai weaponry and armor from the Edo period.

On the castle ground is the Momijidani Teien, a beautifully serene Autumn Garden, constructed by Yorinobu Tokugawa during the early 17th Century. I would have loved to linger in this wonderful place a little longer but we were short of time and had to rush off...

Awajishima Kyukamura Hotel, Shikoku
The entire group finally met on the bus in the afternoon of 14 November at Kansai Airport and Kobe. I was really surprised at how efficiently it all went - the bus driver did not miss a beat despite all the disparate locations involved...

Tania, Suan, Ann, Tze, Pip and Denny

We found ourselves at the Minamiawaji Royal hotel, where the entire group met for a very traditional Japanese dinner: served on low tables while seated on tatami mats... not the most comfortable way to eat dinner when one has grown inflexible with age.

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