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Himeji Castle

Lonely Planet was right.

Yesterday I picked up an extra shift in Himeji. It is a city about an 1 hour away form our apartment. In Himeji there is a huge castle, and it's one of the only ones that hasn't been converted into a museum. Our Lonely Planet book says that if you only see one castle in Japan, see the Himeji Castle.

My shift started at 2:35, so I went up in the morning to go through the castle and I agree that the book was right. I ended up leaving late, (we are getting an air conditioner installed today and it's been a huge runaround to get it organized and I had to do more for that yesterday morning) Needless to say I didn't see all of it. There are other gardens and Saumrai quarters that I didn't get to.

Here are a few shots of the castle.

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Here's a brief history of the castle. It was built originally as a fort in 1333. In 1346 they built the premises. Then in mildde of the 16th century they built the castle. The whole castle was completed as it is in 1609. In 1992 it was desingated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are huge gardens that I didn't go through. When you first enter the castle you have to take your shoes off and you can either wear their slippers or just wear your socks. I opted for the slippers and the guy came over to ake sure that they fit me and they weren't too small. They were ok, but I almost blew a tire and lost one going up the stairs. All the stair cases were really steep, but the little old Japanese women powered up them while I was huffing and puffing. (not really, but watching them climb them was impressive.)

The castle was very impressive. My pictures of the inside don't do it justice. The few pictures I do like are:
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They have these arrow holes all around the castle so the warriors could shoot arrows, through rocks or pour boiling water out of them.

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All around the castle they had these weapon racks. Basically every wall had these racks and I imagine that back in the day they were full of weapons. They had a few racks with weapons. There were a couple with guns, one with spears and another with longer spears.

They also had these "secret" rooms where people could hide if they castle was invaded. One of the signs siad that if people had to hide in these rooms the castle was eventually going to be sacked, but they were still expected to fight.

As I was leaving I saw these five old men sitting outside the castle chatting away and having a great old time.

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I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked here, but that means I will just have to go back!

Posted by agc_cwm 16:56 Archived in Japan

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