A day of travel and little sightseeing, but we did manage to get from Hiroshima to Kanazawa. What would have been a 7½ our drive took us a little over 6 hours by train. And yes, we hung out at Starbucks for a bit.
It was strange to spend only one night in a place, but that's how things ended up for Hiroshima. For places where we've been staying in Japanese-style rooms, we would put out the futon, then fold it up in the morning, except for the morning you check out, when they'll do that for you. So while we set up the futon in Hiroshima, we never put it away. At least it felt strange to me.
We had planned on taking Shinkansen after 9:30am, transferring to an 11:45 rapid (express) train at Osaka, getting to Kanazawa at about 2:20pm. We were at the station very early, a bit after 8am, so we decided to try for the 8:20 train. We had no problem getting on, but as it ends up, it had many more stops than our original train, so we actually ended up on the same Osaka-to-Kanazawa train as our original schedule. The Shinkansen was a faster one between those stops, though; I saw 178mph at one point.
Transferring at Osaka was pretty easy, once we figured out that the car numbers on the ground only applied to trains which were longer than the one we were going to take. The reader signs show the actual car number for that position, so while the ground sign said Car 7, we actually went onto Car 5. Plenty of seats, so we settled in for the ride, eating onigiri we had purchased the day before as lunch. It's nice that they package the nori separately from the rice so it's still crisp when you eat it. It didn't exactly look pretty after I assembled things, but we figured the taste wasn't impacted too much by that.
We knew that power might be a problem (neither train had outlets, and we didn't have enough time to find one in Osaka), so we tried to be sure we had enough once we arrived in Kanazawa. Worked out well for us with my external battery, since we ended up with at least one phone well over half charged, and the wifi hot spot still had half.
Exiting the station, I looked up and saw some amazing architecture. Knowing we would be returning in a little bit, I took notes of things I wanted to look at again for photos and we set out to find our hotel, a walk of just a few minutes away.
We arrived at about 2:30pm, but we weren't able to check in until 3pm. We dropped off our bags and headed back to the station to find the Tourist Information desk. We got some good Kanazawa maps, but weren't able to get much information about our next leg to Ainokura, the most difficult segment to plan; that would have to wait for some dedicated research time.
After wandering around a bit, seeing some potential places for dessert, we headed back out and I took several photos of the entrance. We happened to run into a performance with a few people inside a large dragon puppet with a couple other people demonstrating combat.
Back at the hotel, we checked in (the clerk didn't speak a lot of English, but knew enough words and we were able to figure out the rest) and went up to our room. The place is a business hotel, so it was small, but would work well as a home base for the next few nights.
I didn't see any wireless from my phone, and we only saw an Ethernet cable, for which we had no adapter. We decided to go over to the Starbucks to get a good dose of networking. The one on the street level looked pretty crowded, so we went up to the sixth floor where there was another one with free tables. After I got our drinks, I worked on bloging and photo editing, while Melody nailed down the Ainokura transportation. After we got our respective things done, Melody finished other things up while I scouted the rest of the floor for dinner possibilities.
We settled on a place which had wooden bowls of seafood on rice, but instead of just eating it, you put some into another bowl, added some toppings, then poured broth over the whole thing, eating it like a soup. We got one bowl with salmon and avocado, and another with a variety of sashimi; both were really good. The surprise was it wasn't that expensive (relatively speaking, that is).
After finishing dinner, we wandered over to another place looking for dessert. We settled on a roll cake, but the woman warned us that it was frozen. We got it anyway, deciding to defrost it in the refrigerator for the next day, and since we had generous dinners, we just ate some of our snacks for dessert. Taking another look at wifi, Melody found the hotel had it, which was good news, since that way we wouldn't have to rely on the hot spot for three days.
That was enough for the night. The next day we would start exploring Kanazawa.