On Monday, the trains were finally running and we were able to go to Matsuyama. We took the train to the capital, and I have to say that without a doubt, Ehime is more mountainous than Miyazaki. I think we spent a good 75% of the train ride in the dark, going through tunnels. But at least the parts that I could see were pretty. One thing I always love about Ehime is how the towns seem to be crammed into whatever flat space is available. And, barring that, houses appear to be glued onto the side of the mountain.
When we finally got to Matsuyama, we headed from the train station to a special station in the middle of the street: a streetcar stop! I was ridiculously excited to ride on the street car. Though, none of the commuters packed onto it seemed to be as excited as me. Still, it was unique and a particularly fun feature of Matsuyama that we don’t have in Miyazaki. The best part was that you could ride anywhere on the line for the same low price.
The first stop was a fun clock outside of the famous Dogo onsen.
After that, we took a ride on a famous train. However, I was stuck in the middle of the train and was too busy focusing on keeping my balance (I couldn’t reach any of the handholds) to really enjoy it or take pictures. I think if I had gotten a seat it would have been a lot more fun.
Anyway, then we got some Starbucks (which is a rare and magical treat for me) and headed to the castle. Outside the castle there were cutouts you could put your face in for pictures. Without further ado, I present rarely uploaded pictures: pictures of me.
There are two ways to get up to Matsuyama Castle, taking the cable car or the chair lifts. Jen wanted to do the chair lifts and I’m really glad she chose that one. It was so much fun.
Once inside, we found a set of samurai armor. There were two sets that people could use to try on. As well as a very helpful info-graph with instructions on how to put on each piece and in what armor. I’m not sure what the samurai equivalent of a squire is, but that’s what I became when Jen decided she wanted to try on the whole set. It wasn’t busy when we started, but by the end there was a line of people either watching or waiting for their own chance to live out their samurai related dreams.
We then spent some more time exploring the castle before heading out.
Since it was Jen’s birthday, she had decided that she wanted to spar me at karate practice as part of her birthday celebration. Me being me, I of course agreed. I had brought my TKD uniform’s pants, but forgot my pads at home. So we sort of got the match that she wanted.
I think that day was my favorite one of the whole trip.