This is for the lady who bought me matcha ice cream on the shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo. You were everything I needed just at that moment and I will never forget your kindness.
A very slow train took me into the mountains, to the old village Tsuwano. I wanted to go hiking, but did not because apparently mountains have bears. Instead I visited a temple and had a look around the old samurai quarter, where koi fish crowd the streets more than traffic or people do.
Seven and a half hours aka one limited express train, one shinkansen, one streetcar, one ferry, one local train and a second streetcar later, I found myself in Matsuyama on the island Shikoku. Matsuyama is known for its old onsen and castle. so those I went to see. I found Matsuyama a very pleasant city, and it really is a pity that I did not spend more time to see Shikoku. Luckily when I left I took a three and a half hour back to Okayama that went along the coast, which was absolutely magnificent.
A few days of travel by train later I made it to my final destination in Japan: Nikko. An abundance of World Heritage temples and a funky bridge make this town appealing for tourists, and also ridiculously expensive. But it was all very pretty.
Japan was everything I had imagined and more. I was surprised and warmed by the kindness of strangers, especially the plastic bag man and the fan and matcha ladies. It is a country with great natural beauty, rich history, and a current, up-to-date, convenient and technological approach to contemporary living. It is also sometimes highly bewildering and freaky. I am so glad to have visited this country and would definitely recommend it to everyone. Sayonara, friends.