Kansai 2008 - Day 3
Today we visited Himeji and Himeji Castle. Himeji Castle, aka Shirasagijo (White Heron Castle), is the best preserved castle in Japan. It was built by 1333 Norimura Akamatsu, the ruler of Harima District, built a fort where the Himeji Castle now stands. ln 1346 his son, Sadanori further expanded the fort. In the 16th century the fort was removed and a three story castle was built in its place by Hideyoshi Hasiba. In 1601, Terumasa Ikeda began construction of the moats. The castle and grounds within the outer bailey walls were designated a national treasure in 1931. The defenses of this castle are impressive. You cross large open distances where the defender has the visual and tactical advantage. To get to the castle you must hike the decreasing in size, steep walled spaces, pass through reinforced gates set at angles, and pass under the murder holes and arrow or gun slots in the all walls.
The following are pictures from the third floor of the castle.
The following are pictures from the 6th floor of the castle. We climbed steep stairs of the original castle to reach each floor. By the way, that crow in the scond picture has a wing spac of 3 feet! The crows make a very manly sounding "CAW". These are not meek crows that pick at garbage. in fact we have never seen them scavenging.
Getting there is an adventure in itself in Japan. The trains are very efficient and always on time. However, getting the right train is the challenge. The following sign board says (from right to left) what type of train, red is a rapid service and always preferred, where to load, time of departure, destination, and track. Next is the space you are to stand on, example is the last entry you are to load from triangle spaces 1 through 12. The train will depart at 8:45 for Kyoto from Track 5.
Ah, another vending machine. Yes, they are everywhere. It iappears to be a cotttage industry for residents to have their own vending machines outside their homes.
Lexi aparently speaks Japanese neko as well as American cat language.
In Japanese cities, streets are often covered to make malls.
Elegant kimono! We are staying at the Hotel Monterey Osaka. It is a popular wedding location; hence, we get to see more formal kimono. Ah, Japanese women are not as reserved as you might think. As you can see she is quite a suprising sort! Very lovely and very sweet!