On July 15th, I got to go to the Gion Matsuri, one of the biggest festivals in Japan. Upon our arrival in Kyoto, we were able to go and rent a yukata to wear during the festival. There were shops and food stalls all along the streets where the festival was taking place. The streets were crowded, making it difficult for us to head back to our original location.
During the weekend, we traveled to Hiroshima via the bullet train!The interior reminded me of an airplane which was pretty neat. Unfortunately, the car that we sat in was next to the car that allowed smoking so the smell permeated into our car. That was my least favorite part of the travel. After taking the bullet train, we rode the subway and headed towards Itsukushima, an island that is better known as Miyajima. We took the ferry and arrived at the island.
After spending the day on the island, we went back to Hiroshima and checked into the ryokan we were staying in. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn and it’s slightly different from Western hotels. A common feature among ryokan is that they offer dinner and breakfast.
On Sunday, we visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It was a somber reminder of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons and war. Afterwards, we went to Himeji where we visited Himeji Castle. The castle was huge and there were a large amount of people there. It was also difficult to travel between floors since the steps of the stairs were narrow and relatively high up from the step below. While walking through the castle, it was difficult to imagine what daily life was like for its former occupants. The week of July 20th is the last week of the program which means finals are coming up. What a joy. There are a few things to look forward to after the tests though. It’s quite surprising how fast time has passed and yet feels so long.
Until next time,