All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yamaguchi Prefecture -- Kintaikyo and Iwakuni-Jo

On our way to Kyushu, my kids and I hit up Yamaguchi Prefecture to see one of the most famous bridges in Japan -- Kintaikyo (or "The Brocade Sash Bridge" in Eigo) -- and to hike up to Iwakuni-Jo, the only castle on our tour of Nippon. You can just see it perched charmingly on top of the mountain in this shot...


The kids really enjoyed the bridge, which is so steep that it's actually a staircase on the center arches. It rained the whole time we were there, but that just added to the misty mystique of the mountains and the river.


From Kintaikyo

Iwakuni in the rain

The kids were troopers and didn't complain about the rainy walk at all. Kat got some great shots on our way through town, and we had a pleasant, mukade-free stroll through the forest around the castle.

Strolling up to Iwakuni Castle

Iwakuni Castle

The main tower of Iwakuni-Jo

Sidebar about Japanese castles: Many Japanese castles and palaces employ what they call "nightingale floors" -- a special method of floor construction that produces deliberately squeaky floorboards. Why, you ask? It's a security measure; squeaky floors are very hard to sneak across. Just consider it ninja citronella.

View from Iwakuni Castle

The view from the top of the castle tower was definitely worth the soggy hike.

Kat in Iwakuni Castle

My boys discover Yakult

The rain may have soaked us to the bone, but it didn't dampen the kids' spirits -- a couple Yakults and an ice cream, and they were ready to hop back on the bus and rock on to Kyushuu.

Double-fisting the ice cream

Yay, Kitty-chan!

Alison even found some Kitty-Chan gear, which kept her spraying glitter out her ears for hours! :)

Rain-covered kids

Kat buys hair gel

Kat picked up some hair gel and took advantage of everybody's wet hair to Manga-fy the guys. Their level of awesome reached OVER NIIINE THOOOOOOUUUUSAAAAND!!!

RJ, the Anime Edition

Bridge from Honshu to Kyuushu

The bridge between Honshu and Kyushu


We stopped for a quick "set-o" menu dinner that the kids then supplemented with munchies from a nearby market.

Japanese market

Bus drivers taking a break

This was one of a few stops where we crossed paths with another EF group, so our bus drivers hung out and shot the breeze while the kids ate and shopped. And yes, the little stuffed animal charms belong to our bus driver. Japan may be the only country in the world where a straight, grown man can get away with this sort of thing.

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