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In the fall of 2005, we were contemplating a spring 2006 vacation in the Bahamas, when Jess stumbled upon a special fare to inaugurate United Airlines' new flights to Kansai International Airport in Japan. We couldn't turn down such a great opportunity, so we quickly bought the tickets and started planning. After a bit of research, we decide to limit ourselves to central Honshu, Japan's main island, due to time constraints and the relatively high cost of travel in Japan. Tokyo was a must-see, of course, as were Kyoto (especially after Jess heard about the Golden Temple) and Osaka (once Jer heard about the aquarium). A friend living in Tokyo suggested that we take a day trip to Himeji, which houses one of Japan's most famous castles, and another friend recommended a day trip to Nara, another historic capital and home of the Giant Buddha.
On Day 7, we were welcomed to the point of intimidation, met a fish that costs about as much as an average compact car, and encountered a blond Japanese-speaker.