I knew Matsuyama was a really cool place when I saw this heading along the streetcar line:
I headed over to Matsuyama's #1 sight (or is it #2?). Guide books tend to be very precise about such things. Anyway, it was Matsuyama Castle, massive stone blocks, gorgeous carpentry. Plus some good insights into the transition from feudal times to modern times back in the late 1800's.
The mist and rain only enhanced the experience.
Inside the castle, I struggled to wear the provided slippers. An attendant remarking "bigu feetu" handed me a gaijin-sized pair.
I noticed a little sign on the wall explaining the surface of the massive rock wall had cracked off, in places, because of the heat from WW2 firebombing. Almost two-thirds of Matsuyama was turned to ash. No atomic tourists here.
With the rain still pounding down, I decided to visit the #2 (or is it #1?) sight in Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen (hot springs), "the oldest and most famous onsen in Japan" (grrr).
On the way my apprehension was somewhere between an impending prostate exam, and a root canal. But I knew I had to pull my big boy pants down; besides I had mentally practiced the process thanks to The Google.
My fears quickly dissipated: no creepy old men, just folks of all ages reveling in a community activity.
People in yukata heading home from the onsen.
Then I rode back to the hotel, along the streetcar line, in the little train I saw this morning.
I couldn't stop smiling as we rattled along. Good end to a good day.
I've set myself a problem for the next 3 days:
I live and work in Tokyo. I want to get out of town all of this coming weekend and hike. Come up with a plan.Today I researched a plan. My "not Tokyo hiking weekend" starts tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, and ends Friday evening. Stay tuned.