24 May 2014
Being woken up by security guards is one way to get the blood flowing early in the morning, but we were sleeping on castle grounds and could not fault them. Himeji Castle was a wondrous place to sleep, explore, and learn about. We ventured about the grounds, bought breakfast from a friendly local vendor. As the day waned we were ready to find our next sleeping location. The very helpful Information Center ladies at the train station told us about an amazing camp ground in Banshu-Ako and we were sold!
We awoke to security guards nicely telling us we couldn’t sleep there on the castle grounds. At 5:30 am it was time to get up, pack away our things, go to the restroom and find some food before the castle gates opened at 9 am. It has become more apparent that most shops do NOT open until 9 am or later. But we were eventually dragged into a restaurant by a nice shop owner. Told to sit and gave us an English menu. We spent about $20 (1,500 yen) on curry, rice and fried chicken and mom got a noodle, chicken, onion, egg dish & some rice. We were stuffed and ready to explore the castle grounds that were still open (for a fee, of course) sine the main keep is under going renovation.
I was so so so tired that I tripped over the door jam in the “long corridor” (what they named it in English) and just sat there laughing at myself. The Japanese workers were confused and concerned at my reaction to the mishap. The castle was amazing and awe-inspiring at the craftsmanship and ability especially that long ago. Mom was especially impressed with how big the boulders were that made up the walls.
Once we had finished the little tour we were completely pooped and nothing seemed interesting. We walked back to the train station and the Himeji Tourist Information center. We asked if there was a good campground with SHOWERS. They suggested a spot on the Pacific Ocean about 20 min walk from a JR train stop in Banshu Ako. Ako Seaside Park Camp Group ended up being about an hour walk at our speed, buy we did stop at a park to eat our caramel macchiato ice creams we had bought at 7-eleven. After paying for our spot, and setting up, we got some coins to take a shower. Once clean we put our clothes in an actual washing machine. Our neighbor noticed that we didn’t have any detergent and gave us some of hers (she earned a fish Patagonia sticker), then they went to the drier. After folding and putting them away we went to sleep . Much needed sleep.