Kamilah Taylor
Before heading to Nara, we made a detour to see Himeji-jo, a castle about 30 minutes by train from Kobe. So we had breakfast and bid farewell to Kobe. It’s really quite a lovely city.
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The day was persistently rainy, but we still had fun. The castle is really beautiful. You can see it from a distance, almost as soon as you leave the train station.
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We slowly made our way towards Himeji-jo. I say slowly because Kristen and I kept stopping to take pictures – I’m surprised Lars didn’t forcibly remove our cameras.
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Here I’m standing in front of the gate. The Japanese went all out when building their gates, and they certainly didn’t think small.
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The castle is really beautiful. The day was rainy, which was the only down side. Himeji-jo is a feudal era castle, which becomes apparent very quickly. Almost every detail of that beautiful white structure seems to have some purpose for battle, and I guess since it survived World War II (apparently most of the town of Himeji didn’t), it worked.
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There was a fortress here from around 1346, but around 1600 Ikeda Terumasa took over and wanted something more visually impressive, so he built this. It’s still pretty dedicated to defense though.
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They ran out of rocks when building the wall, so they used tombstones to finish it. Himeji-jo is on a hill, so there’s an amazing view of Himeji from it.
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The castle itself seemed very vertical, I felt like we went up forever, even though I think it was only 5 floors.
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The top of the building is supposed to be famous I think. Of course there was also a shrine inside, in the top floor, and there was a model of Princess Sen in her living quarters.
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Princess Sen is interesting because she was from the Tokoguya family and married off at the tender age of 7 to someone from the Toyotomi family, and then when the Tokoguyas crushed the Toyotomis (this doesn’t make sense the more I think about it), her husband committed suicide with the rest of his family, and then she married someone from the Honda family. I was mostly interested because of the Honda part, but apparently it’s a different Honda from the car. Also, there was a dedicated suicide corner at Himeji-jo, but it was called Suicide Corner because it looked like somewhere where Samurai would commit suicide, even though no one committed suicide at the particular location.
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