we took a day trip to himeji to see himeji castle, also known as the white heron. it’s the most impressive castle i’ve seen, complete with moat, stoney fortress, super steep stairs, and secret doors. and if that weren’t enough to remember, my first cup of matcha was served at the koko-en garden tea house. it was hot, frothy, and my favorite hue of green. i even learned how to make it using a bamboo chasen! and although my sugar handicap prevented me from sampling the wagashi, i was able to capture the handmade confection forever. banzai!