The hotel grounds are really beautiful:
Matsue and Tamatsukuri Onsen
Paul and I headed up to Matsue to check into our next hotel, Chorakuen, which is a Ryokan/traditional guest house in Hot Spring country.
Since it’s traditional, not sure how many Americans they get here. Definitely no English speaking staff here.
Lauren was to meet up with us later that evening to join us — so when we checked in we fumbled cluelessly through a regimented series of highly ritualized events upon exit from the cab — bags taking away, shoe taking away, slipper giving, paper tags giving (for shoes?), page signing, question asking (who knows what we agreed to! Two of something, at some point), breakfast table showing, breakfast time deciding, room showing (slipper removing!), table sitting, green tea serving.
We were clearly in trouble almost instantly, and several times — shoes facing wrong way! Don’t carry your own shoes/bags! I think we pretty much broke Japan
The beds/mats are in the closet behind Paul:
At night someone comes and puts out the “beds”.
The view from our room is beautiful:
After we settled in (and after somehow reobtaining our hidden shoes), we walked around the surrounding neighborhood in search of dinner.
Naturally, Paul thought this restaurant looked good.
That photo is blurry because I only got one shot at it, as every time I stood before it to retake the photo, the pressure sensitive pad beneath it caused the front door of the restaurant to noisily slide open, stopping all conversation within as the wind blasted the patrons and they stared at me. What’s really sad is how many times that event had to happen before I stopped trying. Lab mice are smarter than I am.
We went in eventually, and were seated in the only non traditional part of the restaurant. They were kind of ‘compromise chairs’. Not completely on the ground, yet not full chair height. Just short enough to make us feel silly and like we were Doing It Wrong — possibly by having full length legs.
Again, English was not a thing here, including on the menus. We ‘mystery ordered’ (food roulette!), and got a nice variety!
In this photo, you can see part of a complete fish in Paul’s chopsticks:
Anything with a head on, I generously let Paul eat.
After dinner we walked around the town, which has a beautiful river through the middle of it, and multiple walkways next to and above it. This isn’t a very good photo- I’ll have to manage one during the day:
Photos from the hotel, including breakfast the next day.
Now it’s snowing outside and there’s a crazy bird. Lauren tells us that, in Japan, they say the birds are crying (vs singing).
a video from our porch where you can hear crying birds.. http://youtu.be/ylQQ9Zt8DcM
Today and tomorrow we are here at Chorakuen. Museum/temple today. Tomorrow late afternoon, we part ways with Lauren 😦
Friday! Leaving Yakage, quick Kurashiki stop, then North to Matsue!
Sad to leave Yakage and our inn. Today we check out and take a series of trains North to the other coast and Matsue.
Stop in Kurashiki to wait for our Express train. The station has some beautiful areas (plus an Old Navy!):
Update from Lauren: this part of the station used to be a Hans Christian Anderson theme park!
I don’t understand these body parts:
The public bathrooms sometimes provide these practical, yet somehow off-putting ‘baby holders’.