8:17 AM

New and Old

On Saturday, Jamie and I headed over to Odaiba, which is made completely out of reclaimed land. It's a mecca of shopping and entertainment, and attracts both tourists and locals alike. To get there, you take an unmanned train that runs on rubber tires, and not a regular track.

Some scenes from Odaiba...
(Beach volleyball anyone? As you can probably tell, it was a super hot day)

Being a super hot day, we decided that we needed some refuge from the sun and humidity. Good thing we weren't too far from Decks and Aqua City (two really big malls).
As you can see from the photo, the Sega Joypolis was just waiting for us to visit, so who were we to say no? After all, what trip to Japan is complete without a plethora of video games?
Joypolis actually had a lot more than just video games; it also had some really great simulator rides which I enjoyed a lot.

Odaiba is also the home of Fuji TV, a really big ferris wheel, and something called The Big Sight.

Today, we took a 3.5 hour Shinkansen (aka Bullet Train) ride to Himeji so we could see the Himeji Castle, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally built in the 1300's, it was demolished then rebuilt in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It remained in use until 1868, then restored in 1956 to its current condition. With its white walls and unique architecture, the castle is supposed to give one the impression of a white heron in flight. Visitors are allowed to walk around the grounds, as well as in the main tower, and a few other satellite buildings, though be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering.

Guess they weren't that tall back then.
Some of the various family crests adorning the castle.
Jamie and the Main Tower.
A small door leading to a hidden room where soliders could lie in wait for any invaders who might have made it that far, or where supplies could be stored.
A view from the top.
The entranceway to the castle complex.

Tomorrow and Tuesday - Disneyland and Disney Sea!!