Saturday, 31 October 2015

Shikoku 3-Day Itinerary: Day Three

Read Day 1 here - Uzu no michi, Mount Bizan
Read Day 2 here - Iya Valley, Oboke Gorge
Read Day 3 here - Kochi Castle, Ritsurin Garden

We got into Kochi (高知) in the evening last night but the morning of day three, we noticed that the temperature was warmer than Tokushima which was not that far more north. We didn't have much time today as it would be a long journey back to our town so we did not get to explore Kochi as well as we would like.

Kochi Castle
We took the tram from Kochi Station to go to Kochi Castle (200 yen). The tram went to Harimaya Bridge, then we had to hop off and transfer to another tram which took us to Kochi Castle. The castle opened at 9am and we were there about 10 minutes before so it was quiet and relaxing. Entrance to the castle cost 420 yen and there were some displays inside. At the top of a few flights of stairs was a panoramic view of Kochi city. This is the fourth Japanese castle I have been to after the ones in Himeji, Nagoya and Matsuyama. Unfortunately I would have to rank Kochi Castle as number four.

Displays inside Kochi Castle
Model of Kochi Castle
Panoramic view from Kochi Castle
Instead of taking the tram back, we walked back under the arcades (covered shopping streets). We passed by Hirume Market (ひろめ市場) which had an assortment of food goods. I found a kinken shop (金券ショップ) nearby which is a discount ticket shop and bought my train ticket from Kochi Station to Takamatsu Station (3050 yen).

Taking the 11:13am train to Takamatsu Station (高松), we arrived at 1:32pm. We hopped onto another train (210 yen) that departed at 1:40pm for Ritsurinkoen kita-guchi Station (栗林公園北口駅). This latter train only comes every half an hour. The ride to Ritsurin Koen/Garden was only 5 minutes and it was another few minutes walk to the north entrance of the garden. Entrance fee was 420 yen each.

Koi at Ritsurin Garden
Tranquility at Ritsurin Garden
Boat ride at Ritsurin Garden
The garden was beautifully trimmed and the abundance of koi fish in the water brought colour to the otherwise largely green garden. Sunlight filtered through the leaves and made the green glitter. I really experienced what the Japanese call komorebi (木漏れ日) here. It's a great place to slow down your footsteps and collect your thoughts.

Walking back to Takamatsu Station took about 40 minutes and there was a long shopping arcade on the way. Again I bought my train ticket from Takamatsu Station to Okayama Station (岡山) at a discount shop and it cost 1320 yen. We took the 3:40pm train to Okayama Station and the journey was about an hour.

Okayama Castle
We took a tram from Okayama Station to Shiroshita stop (100 yen) which was only a few stops away. From Shiroshita, it was about a 10 minute walk to Okayama Castle. We saw it from the outside because it was closed by the time we were there.

That is the end of our Shikoku trip and we even managed to fit one sightseeing spot from Okayama in the end. From Okayama you can take the Shinkansen or train to wherever is next on your Japan journey.

Read Day 1 here - Uzu no michi, Mount Bizan
Read Day 2 here - Iya Valley, Oboke Gorge
Read Day 3 here - Kochi Castle, Ritsurin Garden
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