A couple of weeks ago on a very nice and clear day, I visited Himeji-jo. Himeji Castle is one of the most favored spots in Japan for castle lovers because it is one of the few original wood castles left in Japan. And of that few, it is definitely the biggest. The castle was built in the early part of the 17th Century and took the better part of seven or eight years to complete. It has been selected as a World Heritage Landmark and if you come to Japan to visit me, we WILL go there. The Japanese government let tourist visit the castle for five dollars a person and you can stay as long as you like. There are free English tour guides but they were all out when I visited. I was there for almost four hours and I didn't get to see the whole thing so I will go back probably toward the end of next month when Spring starts to go into full effect and all of the plants start blooming. Anywho, here are some long awaited pics of the trip. Sorry I havent posted more of them lately, but internet has sucked as I have mentioned.
Like any good castle, Himeji-jo has a moat that awaits anyone who thinks they will try to breach the outer wall's defenses.
Once you have crossed the bridge to the moat, a massive wood and iron gate blocks your path, fortunately for the gate, it was open and I did not have to employ my ninja abilities to scale it and render it useless.
After the gate, you enter the courtyard outside the castle's main walls. Back in the day, merchant stalls and peoples' homes filled this area, now people have picnics here and play frisbee. Of course, those inside the castle could see everything their servants were doing.
I entered the main part of the castle from a side entrance called the Long Corridor or something like that. I had to remove my shoes and wear slippers that were about five sizes too small but the burden of my large feet was worth seeing what awaited me inside. This is the corridor.
Along the hallway, by a stone doorway, I came across this sign. I liked it so of course, being the tourist I am, I took a pic.
After climbing a very very steep staircase, more like a ladder, I came to anotehr part of the hallway that I thought was very cool looking.
After the hallway, I then hit the main part of the castle.
The castle stands almost eight storeys tall. The flights of stairs within the fortress are steep, but when you reach the top floor you are greeted by a small shrine and this view of the city. It is within Himeji's building codes, no building will stand taller than Himeji Castle and so the view from the top floor is pretty cool. They also light the castle up at night and you can see it from the train.
This is the view from the top.
The sun was setting as I was leaving the castle. This is one of the last pics I took of the building, right around dusk.
And just to give you an idea of the size of the main building, I took this pic.
Overall, the trip to Himeji-jo was pretty cool. I took so many pictures that day, it made me thankful I have a digital camera and not a 35mm. Soon, I will have a link on here to another site that will house all of the pics that I have taken while in Japan. Mr. Blue is helping me with the design of that and as soon as it is ready, there will be a link on here so you can all visit it. When I post pics on here, I have to weed through a ton of shots, I take a lot of the same pics that you see on here in color, in black and white as well. I tend to like black and white better but for the sake of the castle, color was a better option. And in closing, here is one last pic of me in front of the castle.