Return of White Heron: Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle: Front (bue sky background)

Hi there. It’s Mr. Wada back on duty.

Have you checked our previous posts of early spring trip?

Japanese Machu Picchu: Takeda Castle

Taste Kyoto Wine at Amanohashidate Winery

There are things that remained until today to tell about Japanese history. For instance, the castles are ones to represent how powerful Japanese lords were. This time I will share a quick tour of Himeji Castle.

About Himeji Castle

The Himeji Castle locates in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture.

It had gone under renovation for 4 years and reopened in 2015 with the brand new look. So clean!

himeji_castle

Walk Around the Himeji Castle

What amazes me about Himeji Castle is it stands in the middle of the city. There is a castle in my hometown Okayama also but it’s a little away from the main street.

himeji_castle_outside

Enter the Castle

Turns out, it’d take 60 minutes to enter the main castle this time! We have no choice. Got the tickets and joined the lineup. I strongly recommend to come in earlier than 2 PM.

Once you step through the gate, you are like being trapped. It’s a castle of complex! There are thousands of traps and tricks for invaders/spies but ironically it ended up it was never invaded…

ninja

Did you know?

A triumphal arch in Paris, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, these beautiful architectures are all made in symmetry. However, Himeji Castle was designed in a different way.

Himeji Castle: Rooftop

Take a look at the castle’s structure closer, specifically its rooftop, you may feel something weird but not quite sure. I learned that the corners of the rooftop of each story are intentionally not aligned (very slightly) which contributes to its beauty. This way, you would feel it wasn’t made by molds but hands. It could apply to modern architectures as well, don’t you think?

Usually you can find family crest imprinted at the end point of the rooftop in Japanese castles. In Himeji Castle, one of its family crests has a shape of a butterfly. Among those, you can find one that is placed upside down. There is a belief that once a thing is completed it is bound to be destroyed. So, by placing it upside down indicates an intention to keep the castle away from destruction and make it live on eternally.

Inside the Castle

The castle was jam-packed! The top floor was even busier.

Secret Signs

There are little signs just like hidden Micky Mouse(s) at Disney Land. Hehe. There are some more on the top floor. Please try find to them! It’s a little fun from the Himeji Castle.

 

Lastly

I hope you enjoyed the series of our early spring trip. We will share more adventure. Stay tuned.

See you around!



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Japanese Machu Picchu: Takeda Castle

Machi Picchu-like view: Takeda Castle Ruins

Good (early) morning. It’s Mr. Wada back on duty. Why early? It’s because we are going to Machu Picchu…..in Japan. Takeda Castle!

Machu Picchu in Peru
Machu Picchu in Peru (photo from Wikipedia)

About Takeda Castle

Since Takeda Castle has been introduced on TV as Japanese Machu Picchu, it’s become one of the popular sightseeing places in Hyogo Prefecture.

takeda_castle_flickr

(Photo credit: Takeshi KOUNO)

Apparently it appears in the clouds like this once in a while under some conditions in autumn, so it is NOT expected this time (it was March).

Ritsu-unkyou (立雲峡)

We shall start with where that photo was taken, Ritsu-unkyou.

From the parking we have to climb up the mountain a bit…but for 30 minutes!

As expected the castle didn’t seem to float in the clouds. I wish it was autumn though… This mountain is filled with cherry blossom trees. If we only visited a week after, it would have been a perfect sight. Some workers were busy preparing for the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival in this area.

Takeda Castle (竹田城)

After the hiking in Ritsu-unkyou, let’s now move on to our main destination – Takeda Castle!

We parked at the nearest parking which is a road station. Now we have to take a bus going up to the castle (or walk for 40 minutes!) and another 20-minute walk from the bus stop! (noooooooooooooo…)

(Click photo for bigger size)

Don’t forget to put a sticker to show where you are from at the entrance!

takeda_castle_sticker

Oh hey, it is a nice view from up here, isn’t it? It is interesting that people in the past built such a thing in this mountain. Technically it is called Takeda Castle Ruins, so you don’t really see the castle itself. Apparently it was abandoned in Edo era already. But yeah, I guess that’s why it kinda looks like Machu Picchu now. See the picture below?

takeda_castle_machu_picchu

(Click photo for bigger size)

From the top of Takeda Castle, the view was amazing. There are many cherry blossom trees also in the area. Too bad, it was still too early.

Lastly

It is certainly not an easy access even by car but it does feel we have done something when we get there. That’s what adventure is like, right? Hehe.

See you around!

takeda_castle_lunch
Tajima beef lunch



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