Sunday, January 17, 2010

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle dates back to 1346. It is one of the best three castles in Japan used for a very important defensive position for the Tokugawa shogunate government. It has undergone a number of reconstructions, restorations, and additions since it was first built. It miraculously survived World War II when the surrounding area was bombed. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site and is proud of its unchanged for over the last 400 years.

A marvelous stop in our tour through Japan.

Upon exiting the train station we came to the main street , and there was the "White Heron" peering down on us. The white walls give it the nickname after the bird. The plaster walls protect the building from fire and add strength to the walls.

We entered the main gate and wandered through mazes of walls and gates. We followed the crowd and made our way to the entrance.

The architecture was stunning and the fortifications looked strong and ominous even after many years of age. We were glad that we were not attackers but simply onlookers. The white walls protect the building from fire and add strength to the wood frame work.

Himeji Castle has made appearance in a number of movie including "The Last Samurai."

We were allowed to enter the keep. We took off our shoes and wore soft soled slippers. I believe it was to reduce the amount of wear to the stairs and the floor.

Strong doors and secret passageways abounded. Storehouses and numerous wells were located within every wall of the castle, including the main keep, for times of siege.

The main beams inside were really impressive.

All of the windows were barred to prevent intruders.

Having spanned many centuries, the castle saw many forms of weapons: bow and arrow as well as musket. The walls were covered with places for muskets to be stored.

It was fun to peep through and check out vantage points, through the arrow loops which came in all shapes and sizes.


Jeff said...

I missed the picture of Jesse scaling the rock wall. Where is it?

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