Hi Hi sisters ........ this gotta be one of the nicest out-of-town trip I had so far in Japan. A HRH destination, wonderful companions and NO luggage ...... what more can a Bae girl ask for? The 'Gosireh Hwa 1-day lunch tour' is the brainchild of our ingenious Kiyomi san. She chartered a luxury coach bus for her 'April Snow & Now' circle sisters from Tokyo to Nagoya and arranged to have the restaurant opened up in the afternoon just for our gathering. Moreover, she is generous enough to let an outsider (though she never treats me like one) like me join in, doomo arigato :)
As much as this ajumma feels young at heart, but I know my 'over the hill' back and neck would never forgive me if I take that 10-hours bus ride to and from Nagoya within the same day. Cloudnine was kind enough to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) with me instead. See, how can I not be touched? She sacrificed her socializing time with other Bae sisters so I wouldn’t be alone, sob sob ;o
I met my 'mentor' bright and early Sunday morning at the Shinagawa Shinkansen station. You see, there are endless varieties of beautifully-arranged Japanese bento boxes and specialty food stores at most train stations. It is quite an experience itself just to browse and select what you want to eat, and they are all delicious! We grabbed some croissants, apple flans and drinks for breakfast on the train. Since the Shinkansen only took 1.5 hours, so we had a few hours to spare in Nagoya before meeting the other sisters arriving 2pm at Gosireh Hwa.
Cloudnine’s friend from Nagoya met us at the train station and accompanied us to the famous Nagoya Castle. Nagoyajo was completed in 1612 under the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu to serve as an important military castle. It was also the residence of the Owari lineage from the Tokugawa Family. The Hommaru Palace, the main and small donjons were burned to ashes during WWII and have since been reconstructed. Miraculously, the corner towers, wooden gates, most painted screens in the Hommaru Palace survived the fire and are now designated as 'Important Cultural Assets'.
Entrance to the main DonjonThe prominent feature of Nagayajo is the pair of Kinshachi (golden dolphins) adorning the main ridge of the castle roof. It is believed since structures back then were built with wood and got burnt down easily, therefore the dolphins were present to ward off fire. Look! Both the inner and outer moats of Nagayajo were dried up.
Because of its reconstruction, the interior of the castle is like a museum with elevators and modern facilities. This is a life-size model of how workers hurled the giant boulders to build the castle base and the whole mechanism moves too!
A beautifully decorated palaquin (remind me of Untold Scandal and .... Cho Won of course :)
This one is even more fun, you sit inside and it has visual and audio simulation as if you were a real princess from the past being carried in a palaquin! Hehe, both cloudnine and me couldn't control ourselves but succumb to a ride, hehe :)
But then we were pulled back to reality when we saw this primitive kitchen with stoves and bowls :(
I personally am drawn to ancient objet d'art, these pieces are comparatively too 'new' to me :) We took a leisurely stroll around the court gardens. Cloudnine and her chinggu wanted to rest at the castle teahouse, but regretably it's time for us to go to our main course.
We quickly boarded the Higashiyama subway train and headed to Sakae where Gosireh Hwa is. My heart was pounding as we have seen numerous pictures of our prince walking around inspecting the place and riding on that infamous ferris wheel, and I was about to see them all myself very soon .......