Okayama is located on Japan's mainland, but it's a short train away that requires crossing the Seto-Ohashi bridge, an engineer's dream that offers the most stunning view of the inland sea. The train ride alone is worth the whole journey. Since most of my friends have busier working schedules than I do (I'm seriously spoiled), I decided to take that little day trip on my own. As much as I love traveling with friends and sharing my discoveries (it's something I've been missing quite a bit in Japan), sightseeing on my own is also quite pleasant. I can go wherever I feel like going, stop for hours into small shops, sit down for tea, and just be in my own world.
Today was so much fun, I saw some pretty exquisite sights and sampled tasty treats. Here's a day in Okayama:
Catching the morning train. Good thing I can read the kanji characters for a few cities, it's been very helpful...
A lunch set before starting the sightseeing. Rice topped with fresh, warm ginger, and a side of tofu and miso soup. Delectable.
Korakuen garden, which is classified as one of Japan's most beautiful gardens. I think it would be more beautiful in the spring, but it's not so bad for January.
I had some savory little rice cakes with green tea in a little wooden tea house overlooking the pond.
I could not resists buying more little rice cakes to take home as a souvenir (perhaps to share with my friends if I don't eat the whole box tonight)
After the sightseeing, I did some shopping... obviously. Okayama has some fun, trendy stores such as Loft- which is the most amazing shop in the world. It sells everything you could ever dream of, from stationary to beauty products and apparel. I spent a few hours just browsing around. Last but not least, I visited the import food store! Surprisingly, I don't miss anything from home just yet, so I casually walked past the taco spice mix and chick peas (I'll probably run to them in a few months....). I did pick up some peanut butter, though! It's the only thing I've had a bit of trouble finding around my town.
Then it was time to hop on the train back home, cross the bridge back to my dear little Shikoku island, which I love more and more every day.