After a six month break due to other priorities, I'm finally back! I most likely won't have as much time to dedicate to this blog as I used to, but I still have lots of themes to write about!...For today, I'll restart slowly...
As usual, at the end of december, I visited my relatives in Hita and this time, I first spent a couple days on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of japan...and the only one I had never visited. Shikoku is famous for its 88 temple pilgrimage, and while the old fashioned way is to do it on foot, its 1400 kilometers force the majority of pilgrims to use more modern means of transportation.
But before arriving on Shikoku, I stopped for a couple hours at Okayama, on Honshu, to visit its beautiful castle:
As is the case with the majority of Japanese castles, it was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt later. Note its peculiar black color that earned it the nickname of "crow castle"...
Right next to the castle area is the other highlight of Okayama: Korakuen, a vast and peaceful landscape garden in the purest Japanese tradition, officially ranked as one of the three best landscape gardens of the archipelago, for what that notion is worth (I still remember my disappointment in Matsushima). However, Korakuen is indeed beautiful and pleasant, and particularly relaxing. Of course I went there in winter, obviously not the best season to enjoy the garden at its best.