Skip to main content


It's a shock how much a Shinkansen ticket costs when you don't have a rail pass. But it did mean that we could catch a Nozomi and race along at 300 km/h. But I am getting ahead of myself at very high speed.

We caught a Rail Star Hikari bullet train to Okayama, home of the beautiful Koraku-en garden. Today's destination was a little further on, the city of Kurashiki. The name means warehouse village and the Bikan area of the the town retains the old wood and black-tile warehouses, now converted to shops and restaurants. A willow lined canal runs through the area, swans and a punt cruise the waters above giant carp, while a heron searches for smaller fish to eat.

Many of the shops sell Japanese sweets, usually featuring the white peaches and muscat grapes of the region. We were overcome by temptation several time, helped along by samples of the wares. The iron glazed Bizen pottery also features prominently.

Despite the heat, it was a very pleasant stroll along the canal, an antidote to crazy urban Osaka. We lunched on light, crispy tempura and rice inside a quiet and historic building of dark brown woods. On our way back we stopped by the Ohara Art Gallery which contains a number of Impressionist works. Most seemed like lesser works, especially in comparison to the holdings of the great European galleries. The air conditioning was nice, though!

Another local train to Okayama and then we caught the Super Nozomi back to Osaka. You could really sense the high speed, even without the display briefly showing 300km/h. The rice paddies were bright green, water filled canals running throughout the landscape in between grey concrete houses and factories.

Back in Osaka we travelled by subway to the suburb of Umeda, the exit tunnel leading us straight to Yodobashi, an electronics shop. They still sold the Sharp Zaurus, but I was disappointed that I couldn't find a WiFi compact flash card for mine. B haggled down the price of the Panasonic DMC-TZ3 digital camera that her brother and I had both set our sights on (Panasonic is an Osakan company, so it's a souvenir). If only the mobile phones worked on Australian networks we might not have been able to resist either. They look so good and some convert to widescreen televisions!

Dinner was okonomiyaki cooked right at our table at the food court above Yodobashi. The next level down was devoted to sweets and desserts. After such a hot day the crushed ice, mango and cream was just irresistible!

More photos


Popular posts from this blog

A selection of jams

We're home now. The last two days of our Brisbane trip involved a lot of driving but not always much movement. On Wednesday we arranged to met Sis and her family at Robina Town Centre, a massive shopping mall. That meant a drive down towards the Gold Coast along the same motorway we'd driven up along. What should have taken an hour took twice that due to the holiday traffic along the 3 and 4 lane road. Lots of people taking the turn-offs to three of the "Worlds" (Wet'n'Wild, Movie World and Dreamworld).  The Town Centre hosts Artvo , a trick photography gallery where you use perspectives to make subjects look like they are part of the artwork. It was surprisingly fun, despite the aversion of we males to being the subjects of photos. Afterwards we had a long chat over lunch, which was sourced from a variety of eateries. I had roti and chicken curry from Roti and Buns . Passable, though the curry was more laksa like. We later took Sis to Daiso and she and her h

Boxing Day in Brisbane

No post Christmas recovery for us. We walk up to Queen Street Mall again in search of breakfast. The Boxing Day sale crowds were building as the shops began to open. Brisbane's city centre feels large and impressive, but also a bit like some of the more modern parts of Singapore. The tropical heat and humidity certainly assists with that impression. The others eat McDonalds for breakfast, I had a slice of Christmas cake in the hotel. We buy some clothes from Uniqlo, browse a few other stores, hunt for a Malaysian cafe that turns out to be too fried to eat now. After more shopping and wandering it is now vaguely lunch time, so we try Roti Place. The roti is crispy and sweet, the curry salty, the har mee spicy, the Hainanese chicken okay. My favourite is the oatmeal chicken. On the way back to the hotel we stop by bookstores looking for the next book in a series for Alex. On the third try we locate a single copy. It's back to the hotel room for an afternoo

Up to Brissy for Chrissy

It's Christmas Day. We are celebrating it alone as a family, the presents were opened yesterday, our lunch was leftovers turned into a salad and our dinner was Hungry Jacks. But the tiny Christmas tree from home sits on the hotel room desk, wrapped with colourful battery powered lights. There's pudding and custard, cherries and mangoes, plus lots of chocolate. And we are on holidays! Outside the hotel room window is a view of the Brisbane River, with bridges and buildings on the Southbank lit up in Christmas colours. There were crowds of people admiring the tree and lights out the front of the Brisbane Town Hall. I expected the city to be dead on Christmas night, but no, it's buzzing. I'm exhausted after the drive north. I had a rough sleep, dreamed I was flying and swimming in the South Pacific. Then I cracked a molar while eating Christmas cake! This is totally unfair because I just had a lower molar repaired earlier in the week. Th