I have written a blog about the tour of the Toho bead factory and will publish it when I have checked it is ok to do so. This is about the rest of the day.
Toho Beads are a Japanese company with a global market and they make 10,000 different types of beads/colours so we were privileged to be able to take a tour around the factory and also look at their museums of glass and beads as well as cooking our own lunch
This is the entrance to the factory, where we arrive after a 45 minute drive from the hotel.
When we arrived, we started with the tour (separate blog) and then we made lunch. Lunch was okinomiyaki which is based on a pancake batter of flour and water cooked on a hot griddle and while it is cooking, you add a flavouring, shredded cabbage, some crunchy stuff, spring onions and bean sprouts. Then you lay on bacon and the rest of the batter and turn is over. While it is cooking, you heat through noodles with a soya sauce based sauce (it has more flavouring than soya sauce). When this is hot and the bacon/batter are cooked, you put the pancake on top of the noodles and then cook an egg on the griddle – sort of fried/omelet. When cooked, the whole lot goes on top of the egg and it is all turned over and served.
It was very tasty and very, very filling!
Once we had recovered from lunch, we had 1.5 hours to buy beads, visit the museums and generally look around. It turned out that they are normally closed on Tuesdays but they opened for our visit which was wonderful because we had the place to ourselves.
I bought lots of beads now that I can braid with beads! I also bought the Seed Bead Bible which looks fascinating because it has lots and lots of information in it.
The museum of glass was very interesting and some of the contemporary glass was just stunning. I also enjoyed the bead museum with beads from all over the world as well as the Toho Bead challenge which is items made from Toho beads. There was a wonderful arrangement of flowers in a vase, all made from beads but looked real from a distance and the most exquisite peacock. It was amazing.
They have a theme park at the factory and you can try blowing glass, making beads and doing stained glass as well as a castle full of mirrors. They also have weddings there and they have redone the courtyard with the circles with hearts. Here they are just finishing one off
We left at 3.00 and had an easy journey back to the hotel so Phil and I went off to take a look at Hiroshima castle. The castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb so it has been rebuilt since then as a replica. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the grounds because there was a chrysanthemum show on, it was another treat. These bonsai chrysanthemums were incredible because they must be a number of years old and have the most wonderful shapes.
These chrysanthemums with huge heads were also amazing.
We then went into the castle and climbed to the top to see the views of Hiroshima.
Here is a picture of the view over Hiroshima in the evening light.
We managed to get back to the hotel in time to change for dinner which was a buffet for the whole group. It worked very well and we had the chance to say goodbye to everyone because some of us were leaving very early.
It has been a great trip with a wonderful group of people – it will take a bit of time to recover although I have one more day in Osaka.