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Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" - George Carlin


Japan trip
Day 6 - 11th June - Himeji jo
(Part 2)

Some pictures of the exterior

City view from parapet

Exterior. It was cloudy, so this is a bit brighter than it really was.

Entrance to the keep

View of city from keep


Picture of Carp drawn by Tadazane Sakai

Picture scroll showing shooting arrows at Sanju-san-gen do
It looks like it's drawn by a kid

Guns, gun rack and blurb


Blurbs about war and the defences. Though if the castle was breached apparently the Lord was doomed anyway so this bought him time to commit seppuku

Kabura Arrow (noisemaker)

For an Ornamental Sword it isn't very ornamented

There was a very amusing object on display. Photography was disallowed, so in respect of that, here's the blurb:

"Cake Bowl Made of Twisted Paper (紙捻御自製菓器): Morimasa Takei made this cake bowl of twisted paper. As a loyalist of the Meiji Restoration, he was arrested by the Himeji Feudal Clan. He stocked the tissue paper given to him in prison and with it he secretly made the twisted papers. On the underside of the lid of the cake bowl he wrote a poem to mourn the death of other loyalists."
This was very screwy

You can find a picture on this page:

Naginatas (?)
Above the rack you see a kugikakushi (ornamental coverings for nail heads) that for some reason the signage highlighted a few times

The extent of reconstruction work

The interior was very plain and boring. Here's a picture I koped from Picasa:

Shachi: Dolphin

When I made it to the top level of the castle, I found:

A Shrine (with obligatory donation box). Notice also the alcohol and dried mushrooms (?!).

According to Elia Diodati this was "a memorial to the spirit that protected Himeji Castle from losing battles".

There was an AED at the top, in case people collapsed after climbing 6 flights of stairs. There was also the de rigueur Japanese stamp - so you couldn't cheat by stamping at ground level!

View of city, fish

Model they used to aid in reconstruction. "Only traditional construction methods" were used.

Gorin-to "Buddhist-oriented monument"

Hole to throw stones at invaders

Exit of keep with trapdoor - notice it can still be closed to keep out invading hordes of tourists

Playing with lines

More playing with lines

On the way out, I was looking for a very exciting bit that I had read about earlier: the Suicide Quarter.

"To Harakiri maru"

How can you not love the Suicide Quarter?!?!

Blurb about Suicide Quarter

Okiku Well. Naturally, there's now money in it.
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