day three was spent at a couple of quiet places on the way home. unlike the rest of the places we visited, these weren't huge tourist draws, so it was nice (though i must say, the other nice thing about hiroshima is that there are so many gaijin visiting, you ALMOST feel like you can blend in).
we wanted to make a quick stop at the castle in hiroshima, even though it's nowhere near as cool as our own Himeji-jo (himeji has the largest original standing castle in japan...a lot of other castles are reconstructions from after the war, Hiroshima's included). still, that didn't stop me from taking a nice photo op!
we also made a stop at the shrine in the park where the castle is, since the nice man at the gate let us park for free by giving us a praying pass. it would have been wrong not to actually stop for a prayer.
after that, we started the drive back home, stopping at a mountain shrine with waterfalls. this place was more beautiful than any of the other shrines and temples we'd seen this trip. it may be my favorite shrine yet. pictures couldn't even attempt to caputre the beauty of this place. the atmosphere was complete peace. still, here are a few shots to try and give you an idea.
after this stop, it was all the way back to fukusaki, with a quick pitstop for food once and ice cream later. it was a beautiful trip, and i had a wonderful time with some excellent friends. i am so happy that i went instead of moping about my car at home.
if only i could end the story of this weekend on such an upbeat note. sadly, soon after getting home, disaster struck...