Monday 29 May 2017 Kurashiki

This morning we woke to a beautiful day on the ocean – we had breakfast up on the Lido Deck while the ship made her way to the port of Uno Ko in Okoyama. We disembarked the ship at 9.00am and boarded 3 buses to take us for the one-hour drive through Okoyama City into the mountains. As we drove along we saw lots of fruit and vegetable-growing farms as well as rice paddocks – Japan grows 100% of its own rice but needs to import a large percentage of other food.
Our first visit was to one of Japan’s three most significant gardens, Korakuen. This stunning 17th-century formal garden covers a total area of approximately 133,000 square metres that incorporates the typical features of a Japanese landscape garden, including a large pond, streams, walking paths and a hill that serves as a lookout point.
We saw Korakuen’s spacious lawns, which are unique for a Japanese garden, and we also found groves of plum, cherry and maple trees, tea and rice fields, an archery range and a crane aviary. We also saw a lovely lake with a little island in the middle, three ponds, one of which was filled with Lotus plants (no flowers) and a little stream. We were told today that the reason that the Japanese keep Carp in their ponds is that they keep the mosquitos at bay by eating the mosquito larva We enjoyed wandering along the walking paths and half-way around, we were able to climb up a small hill, which gave us a great panoramic view of the whole gardens.
We enjoyed a peach ice cream in the Fukuda Tea House overlooking the lake and saw another bride and groom, dressed in colourful traditional wedding attire, having their photos taken in these beautiful gardens. Then we continued our wander along the path back to the buses.
The bus drove us to Kurashiki, another hour away where we had a traditional Bento Box lunch at the Kurashiki Kokusai Hotel. We had Sea Bass, Seared Bonito & Tuna, Chicken, Pumpkin, Radish, Snap Peas, Grilled Pork Loin as well as Tempura style Snapper, Sand Borer & sweet Potato and of course steamed rice and Miso Soup.
After lunch, we were taken for a walk around Kurashiki old town, where we were able explore the old merchant quarter and its 17th-century wooden warehouses. Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), when the city served as an important rice distribution centre. The name, Kurashiki can be roughly translated as “Town of Storehouses”, which refers to the storehouses in which the rice was kept. Many of the storehouses have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes.
Our visit to the charming old merchant quarter of Kurashiki was exactly what we had pictured Japan was like in the 17th and 18th centuries, with its traditional wooden warehouses and canals with weeping willows.
We left Kurashiki at 3.00pm and made our way back to the port to our ship, arriving just before 4.00pm and once everybody was aboard, we set sail. Not long after that, we went under the Seto Ohashi Bridge, which is a 13 kilometre section of bridges connecting several islands. We also had a briefing on how to use the much smaller life jackets required during zodiac landings as we will be using them tomorrow afternoon.
This morning we received a formal invitation to join the Captain at his table for dinner tonight at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner. We had Pre-Dinner drinks in the Lounge and were introduced to the senior staff before heading down to the dining room to join the Captain Hakan Gustaffson and two other couples. Sandy was seated to the left of the Captain and we had a wonderful evening chatting and laughing and enjoying our special Welcome Dinner.

4 Responses to “Monday 29 May 2017 Kurashiki”

  1. Maria Highes says:

    Such an interesting Blog as always! Wow how exciting to be invited to sit at the Captain’s table, keep having a wonderful time, love from us all here xoxo

  2. sandy says:

    So glad you are enjoying our blog. We were very excited to get our formal invitation to sit at the Captain’s table for dinner. Our internet is very slow, so we are running a bit late.

  3. Katharine says:

    The photo of the cranes at the garden is beautiful. xo

  4. sandy says:

    Thanks Katharine. xo

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