My Japan trip so far has been a wonderful whirlwind! I am currently in Wakayama, which is a small city of about 396,000, in an area bordering Osaka Prefecture.
We are here for Hinamatsuri, the Girl’s Day Festival. Much more about this later. Today we are going to explore the Awashima Shrine before the crowds descend tomorrow. It’s a rainy day, and since I am with a small tour group of about 14 people, I have an unusual hour alone to blog. I have this hour alone because most of our group has already taken off for a train ride then a half hour walk to the shrine. As many of you know, I travel in spite of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, as I often have to do when traveling during an RA flare-up, I’m swallowing my pride and taking a taxi with a 91 year old woman and another disabled member of our group. That’s the thing about traveling with a disability…you really have to be honest with yourself and others. There is no point in putting on a brave face if you are going to slow the group down or slow yourself down by over-exertion in the middle of a long trip.
So here I at at the Hotel Granvia Wakayama, by way of the Shinkansen, a stop at an incredible antique Ningyo (antique doll) museum exhibit in Nagoya, and then a 4 hour bus ride. We are coming from the incredibly luxurious Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Tokyo; we are adjusting to our current more workman-like hotel, which is actually quite nice for a small Japanese city. Quiet, right at the train station (which I absolutely love; so many restaurants and places to shop at Japanese train stations!), clean and good water pressure in the shower. What more do you really need? Plus they served us a lovely kaiseki dinner last night and a very complete buffet breakfast this morning.
Ok, I am off to today’s adventure! Hope the rain isn’t too fierce, and I hope to bring you back some fabuous images of the Awashima shrine!
PS: I saw Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen yesterday. I mean, really saw it; got some great pictures. Evidently this is only possible about 50 days per year so luck was with us!