Saturday, September 27, 2008

9/27/08 Himeji

The second to last day of my late July travels around Japan with Tung.

Having successfully survived the Miyajima deer, we continued north to a city called Himeji. Our solitary reason for stopping at this place was to check out Himeji Castle, which wikipedia thinks is the most visited castle in Japan.

Himeji is a pretty straightforward place. You can see the castle from the train station. The train station planners couldn't resist their primal urge to place some stupid sculpture at the entrance though, which I think is a mistake. Which would you rather see, the giant castle on a hill or some nonsense attempt at art?

It's a very nice looking castle, and it looks like it actually might have some military significance, contrary to the others I've seen so far, which were little more than glorified palaces.

The castle was high enough up that it took a considerable amount of walking to get up to it.

I found this map pretty interesting. It depicts "Himeji Castle in the early Meiji period." There are several layers of walls. The less important you were, the farther away from the castle you would live, and the less protected from ninjas you would then be.

I wouldn't want to be the guy who had to force his way into this place.

The interior was completely wooden. As you can see from the outside shots, the castle had five or so stories, and a lot of narrow staircases to match. It was very hot outside, but the temperature became more and more comfortable as we ascended, due to the breeze I suppose.

Each floor had interesting exhibits and assorted artifacts to check out.

Tadamitsu Sakai and Tadanori Sakai's swords.

I didn't gather why this guy was important, but I wouldn't mind having one in my apartment.

Japanese armor is really cool.

Some arms arranged as they were back in the day. Guns, powder, and fuses waiting around to hurt someone. There were countless pegs on the walls throughout the castle for hanging weapons upon.

A commanding view of Himeji from a castle window. The fish creature hanging out on the roof is call a kinshachi.

I've got one last day to write about, and it's a good one.

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