Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Himeji Castle

Ohayoo gozaimasu! Good morning!
I drink a cup of tea while admiring the interior garden.
 We take the train toward Himeji, where there is one of the oldest and best preserved medieval castle in Japan.
We pass the longest suspended bridge in the world.
Because we have to walk for a long distance, we rented bicycles. There is an escalator for them.

 The Castle is nicknamed "White Heron" because it looks like a heron taking flight and is painted white following a traditional Japanese method. It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu (the main character in "Shogun" by James Clavell) on the site of his mentor's castle (after he was the one who burned it and killed everybody in mentor's family). Like any medieval castle, it has plenty of fortifications.
The main gate has a lateral wall, used for throwing stones and shooting arrows.
The roads are narrow and zig-zagged.
The gate has a smaller gate in itself to controll the volume of enemies entering.

And everywhere, there are small windows for shooting arrows.

The only battle this castle had is the one with time. It is in renovation and we had the possibility to see up-close the walls and the roof.

Like any complicated thing, the castle is made of simple ones: rock, wood, string and earth (plus additives such as rice water, oil, etc.)

 It is to be commended that they are renovating it using traditional methods.

Interesting facts about the castle: it has an appearance of five levels, but has six (bummer for the enemy).

On every roof corner are fishes, to protect it from fire
The castle follows the natural curves of the land and so this granary is one of a kind in Japan with a curved form

Every shogun that had this castle added his seal, that can be seen at the tiles.

The building in which lived the women who took care of the princess was resembling a long hall with some lateral rooms. The difference between this and Versailles was in decorations. (in the picture you can see a little chair; in it sits Hayden, but he is invisible)

Every respectable castle has a moat.
From here we went to Koko-en, a botanical garden.
This man is pruning the tree needle by needle and trains the stems to grow gnarled

These women were going to a tea ceremony into the tea pavilion.

We can only presume the amount of work to have this kind of garden.
By this time we were really hungry. We found a ramen shop. The cook got out from behind the counter, taught us how to work the machine with many buttons and prices, printed our tickets, and then proceeded to boil the noodles and prepare our food. We still don't know what we ate, but I know that I had pork, with mushroom and sea-weeds and it was excellent.

We return to Kyoto and I am left to be the guardian, as they fall asleep almost as the train started to move.

It is 8:30 pm and I am very sleepy. Oyasumi nasai! Good night!

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