Castle Hunting Day 2, Inuyama
Effectively, it is our last day in Japan. Time flies, we’ve spent two weeks here already. Today, we’re on our way to look for our second castle on this trip, Inuyama Castle. It was a very short journey from Nagoya so we just headed there to see what we could get at the convenient stores. The weather was gloomy, as with our mood for the day. We had to walk a good 20 mins before arriving at the gates though, a great exercise in the cold.
As with Hikone yesterday, Inuyama Castle is also one of the 12 original castles of Japan. Its castle keep also one of only five castles whose main keeps have been designated as national treasures. It is also the only castle (so far) that make us have to climb so high to reach the castle keep. The view up in the keep was pretty spectacular though, it overlooked a huge part of the town. I could see why they built it up there, for strategic purposes during the warring era.
While we were there, one of our objectives was to get the souvenir coin. We asked around the shop owners and were told that the coin machine was located at the museum down the hill and outside of the castle areas. Sadly it began raining, so heavy that we had to buy an umbrella from the souvenir store. Literally our souvenir for the trip.
It seems that the museum is not free entry. Doh, I just want the coin leh, I don’t wanna check out the museum. The staff knew what were here for, so she suggested that we’d just buy 1 ticket instead of a pair. Great suggestion! She even pointed me to the location of the machine. I went in by myself and literally headed right to the coin machine. I didn’t even know what the museum was about. Worst 100 yen ever spent.
It was funny though, the museum ticket came with an entrance stub to the nearby gallery. Might as well right? So now it’s Minmin turn to go in by herself. According to her, the gallery was a small showcase of scary dolls.
Urakuen of Inuyama
Next we went to Urakuen. In our past adventures, we’ve come to conclusion that all castles had an accompanying garden. Very zen, very pristine and clean. Also very nearby the castle grounds. But no, Inuyama Castle didn’t have one, or rather Urakuen (supposedly, as I thought) was not part of it. It was actually about 15 mins way, cutting through other peoples’ housing estates.
There wasn’t any other tourists in the garden. There was also another and a designated national treasure in here, one of Japan’s most celebrated teahouses called Jō-an. But we didn’t enter the teahouse as it was too expensive.
Inuyama Castle Town Showa Alley
On our way back, we stopped by the Inuyama Castle Town Showa Alley. For some reason, it was quite deserted. I’m not sure if it were because of the rain, or because it was a weekday afternoon. Most of the shops weren’t open, and it didn’t look much like what we Googled. We grabbed some small bites though, not the best takoyaki and beef skewers, but good for the cold weather.
Nagoya Station Misokatsu Yabaton
Now this was what I mentioned in the other article about Nagoya’s famous foods: Hitsumabushi and Misokatsu. We found a place called Yabaton at the station. It was affordable, definitely not the high end restaurants kind. An absolutely tasty, the meat was tender and juicy and the sauce had a unique special miso flavor. You’d know this is a famous chain, when you see that the shop has an eki stamp.
Rilakkuma Nagoya Store
After our meal, we walked around Nagoya Station. The dread is real, as minutes went past, we felt more and more dejected. It’s like one of those “what would you do if today was the last day of your life” moments. There was a Rilakkuma shop here, at the nearby Takashimaya. But, unlike Takashimaya in Singapore, here at Nagoya, it is a huge-ass building. We had difficulties finding the outlet without walking in circles for at least 20 minutes. This bear is really cute, each time we visit the store, it made us happier. Even I am slowly becoming a Rilakkuma fan…
Went back to the hotel for a rest, and headed out for a quick meal nearby. We wandered around the streets of Nishiki to look for something more budgeted. And chanced upon a small cozy store selling piping hot udon. Perfect meal for the cold weather, our last dinner for these journey.
Tonight, we packed our luggage, and took pictures of all our tickets as usual. This time, we have a new addition to our collection – our eki stamp book! Yay! Next year, at this time once again, we’ll be back!