We spent our third day in Kobe touring around Chinatown, nearby temples, shopping districts, and mapping out our dinner plans for the evening. I'm not particularly proud to admit that I spent most of Chinatown stuffing my face and therefore only have one picture of it. Chinatown was a burst of color, music, smell, and amazing food. The fat kid in me was rejoicing!
The temples and their surrounding gardens are beautiful, peaceful, and quiet. We toured them dutifully, but not much was in English - so most of it was lost on us.
|This is a Torii - a Japanese gate and they symbolize the passing from sacred to profane. You find them mostly at shrines and sacred places. You can also walk under one to go into the Kadena BX. I guess that is sort of sacred.|
|As mature and cultured as I was trying VERY hard to be, I still laughed out loud at this.|
|That's one big Buddha!|
I will also grudgingly admit to the fact that I was THRILLED about the prospect of shopping later that day. I had done some research and learned that they had American brands in Kobe. I had every intention of boosting the Japanese economy. Alas, what I forgot is that I'm slightly taller, rounder, curvier, etc than the average Japanese woman. I did find a Gap AND a Banana Republic but since I'm neither 5'2 or size 0 - 2, nothing in the store would even come close to fitting. I didn't even bother trying to shove my size 10 feet into any of the darling flats. I left defeated. Later on, we passed by all the high end designers and stumbled upon my husband's favorite: Eddie Bauer. I tried warning him against getting too excited. What do you know, they had clothes big enough to fit Americans. We got a few things just for the sake of being able to say we shopped at Eddie Bauer over the weekend...and didn't pay for shipping. :) We ended up finding L.L. Bean and Land's End too! So cool!
We wound down the evening with fancy drinks at our hotel and dinner out at a Swiss restaurant in town. (Again, you can find ANY kind of food in Kobe. Love it!) It was a great end to a great day!
The next morning, we decided to squeeze in a tour of the Arima Hot Springs before heading back to Okinawa. With all our luggage, we toured the area. I think seeing steam rise from the sewers was the creepiest experience I've ever had! We enjoyed some local snacks and headed to IKEA and the airport. (IKEA was so overcrowded that it ended up being a bust - no pictures of that, sorry!)
Lastly, at the airport, I finally snagged a picture of the infamous Pokemon plane that I arrived (almost a year ago!) in Japan in. I just had to share! Isn't it fantastic?
We loved spending time exploring Kobe. It was the perfect way to celebrate one amazing year of marriage. :)