An unexpectedly quiet stroll in Kobe City’s Sorakuen, a stroll-pond garden featuring a former houseboat decorated with rich lacquer. The former Hassam House relocated from Kitano-cho and an European-style stable is unique to this garden. A visit during the azalea or chrysanthemum season is highly recommended.
Leisurely strolling in Awaji Hanasajiki, a flower park with a backdrop of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and Osaka Bay. Different flowers can be enjoyed here throughout the seasons, and I was happy to be able to see the cosmos even though it was already the second half of November.
Oishi Park, the former site of Yura Fortress which was built to protect access to Osaka Bay through the Kitan Strait today offers a look at the remains of batteries. The observatories and lookout points from the park gives a great view of Osaka Bay, the Kitan Strait and the Tomogashima Islands nearby.
Visiting Izanagi Shrine, said to be the final resting place of the god Izanagi, who gave birth to the Japanese archipelago with Izanami. Located on Awajishima, the first island born during the kuniumi process, this shrine is also said to be the oldest shrine in Japan.
Sumoto Castle was a vital strategy for Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s control over Osaka Bay, situated in Awajishima which is located in the strategic midpoint between the mainland and Shikoku Island. The tenshu seen today is the oldest reconstructed castle keep in Japan, built in 1928.
Located on top of Mount Senzan, said to be the first mountain created on Awajishima, Senkoji was said to be founded by a hunter who was led by a manifestation of Senjukannon (thousand-armed Kannon) in the form of a wild boar. Also serving as the first temple of the Thirteen Buddhas of Awajishima, the temple also worships Fudo Myo-o or Acala.
A walk to Tenjoji near Kikuseidai of Mt. Maya, I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful dry landscape garden of the temple, and the heaven-like atmosphere of such serene temple. The viewing platform, Tenku no Daibutai offers a good view of the Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island and the Akashi Bridge on a clear day.
Relaxing stroll at Koko-en Garden, located right next to Himeji Castle, featuring 9 different gardens.
Visiting the White Heron Castle, Himeji-jō, the largest castle in Japan and one of the 12 original castles of Japan.