Please start at Day One

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Day 15 - Bare-foot Sight-seeing

Today I enjoyed being a tourist. I did not get up early, I did not walk any great distance, I did not visit any temples or police stations, I just ambled about Kochi city in my Crocs. I had a lie in, and only just made it in time for the hotel breakfast, which was toast, half a boiled egg, half a frankfurter (which I spotted at the last minute and narrowly avoided eating), coffee, a salad and some kind of boiled cabbage.

The park around Kochi Castle was busy with joggers and office workers having their lunch. I took photos, bought an ice-cream and strolled around like a proper tourist, I did not have any schedule to adhere to today. At the entrance to the Castle Keep - which is an impressive multi-storey pagoda-style building towering over the city - I had to take off my shoes as the interior was tatami mats. I was wearing my Crocs today, to give my boots a rest, so this meant I walked around the castle in barefeet, which was a very liberating experience and quite comfortable on another warm sunny afternoon.

After the castle I went into a modern covered shopping precinct to look for some lunch. Many of the restaurants have plastic replicas of their dishes outside the front, for people to choose from, I couldn`t find any that weren`t fishy, and I was baffled by the restaurants that had just written menus. I was determined NOT to go into the McDonalds - which was packed with schoolchildren - but I was too scared to try ordering in a traditional Japanese restaurant.

I finally found somewhere that was not authentic Japanese at all, I think it was called Mr Donut, obviously heavily influenced by American culture, but with a quirky Japanese touch. So I had soba noodles followed by a donut and coffee as I watched the world cycle by. Everyone rides bicycles here but I have only seen one BMX and one mountain bike so far. All of the bikes here seem to be the same model, what I would call a "Lady`s Shopping Bike", I don't think young people in London would ride them, but here in Shikoku even the young cool guys are riding them. The type of bike that has a lowered top-tube on the frame so you can still wear a skirt, and a lamp and shopping-basket at the front. All the bikes have the same locking mechanism on the back wheel, which secures the wheel to the frame, but does not secure the bike to anything, outside every shop are rows of these bikes resting on their kick-stands.

  • Distance walked today = 0k
  • Distance walked so far = 285.7km
  • Temples visited today = nil
  • Koban visited today = nil
  • Accommodation = Hotel and breakfast ¥3800, my second night at Hotel Sun Atlas, Kochi City, Kochi-ken 〒780-0822
  • Expenditure today = entrance fee to Kochi Castle ¥400, ice cream ¥200, soba noodles, donut and coffee¥560, box of sweet potatoes and inarizushi (suchi rice in fried tofu pouches) ¥250.
  • Settai = nil - unless you count the free coffee fill-up after I must have been sitting for too long in the noodle and donut shop.

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