A couple of Saturdays ago, we went on a day trip to Nagahama which is next to Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan) with Mac, Yoko, Jane, me and Julian. Currently, there's a special train fare, which for approximately $20 you can ride the trains all day and get on and off and go anywhere within that day – a fantastic deal! Nagahama is north of Kyoto about 2-1/2 hours from Himeji.
It was a beautiful, sunny, cold and crisp day. We first went to the bonsai exhibit, which was featuring 200-400 year old bonsai trees. They were displayed inside an exhibition hall and the rooms smelled really good because many of the trees had flower blossoms. It reminded me of the orange blossoms in Phoenix. The bonsai trees were beautiful and the thought that some of these trees were 400 years old, was beyond me. How do people care for a bonsai tree for 400 years? What an incredible burden and task. What if you were the one to kill it? I just don’t understand how generations can care for a plant for that long. Then again, I’ve killed many plants over the years. I can't even think about it - it's too horrible to imagine.
The garden in front of the bonsai exhibit
Nagahama is an old market town that has interesting old stores. Nagahama is known for their glass blowing, kimono making/design/painting and their spring festival with young boys performing kabuki (Japanese theater). We wandered through town, had lunch, went to a temple and then to a glass exhibit at the art museum.
We randomly stopped in at the action figure museum/store. There was a history of action figure development and lots of action figures for sale. In Japan, there are vending machines everywhere that sell action figures from anime/manga (cartoons/comic) such as Hello Kitty, Naruto to sexy busty women.
In front of the museum
We bought an action figure from the vending machine...
Action figure vending machines (picture from when we were in Osaka)
There was also a small castle that everyone went to, but Julian and I decided to stop and have coffee and dessert instead. Afterwards we headed home.