Hello and Konnichiwa 今晩は
Today was by far the wettest day we spent in Japan…we got drenched as we arrived off our Bullet Train into Himeji to visit it’s white castle! From a distance, it looks quite impressive a stronghold to truly behold, yet just because it looks cool on the outside doesn’t mean that does so on the inside! We wanted to get inside as soon as possible as the rain was coming down hard at the time so we rushed to pay so we could get inside but we needed to use a ticket machine to purchase tickets first which took a few minutes to understand but we got the hang of it.
This was the brightest part of our tour weirdly enough, the first corridor once we had gotten into the main area of the first floor. The main keep to our surprise was quite dark overall, making it hard to read all of the historical information about the castle but that could possibly be because it was dark and rainy outside, I don’t know but I would need a light to properly see everything to appreciate it.
Look at the wall and how dark it appears, it was like this everywhere around the castle, it was a dark day but only one can imagine how different our experience in Himeji would have been if the sun was out that day? Well for a little bit it did appear but by then we were almost finished. We removed our shoes and slip and slide about the wooden floors as we walked around floor after floor and when we wanted to move onto the next floor, we had to climb a set of these.
It may not appear that bad here but these are some of the steepest stairs I’ve ever climbed and PLEASE, HOLD THE RAIL AS YOU GO UP! they are so slippy that you might fall backwards if you let go! It was the same for all 6 floors as well so be very careful as you climb the stairs. Everything seems so low over here, you always have to lower your head going through most doorways or when climbing a steep staircase, I mean this morning I banged my head on a low light as I went for my breakfast!
The castle was alright but for me, it just looks better on the inside and I understand that this is an old castle and this is what it was like and I think that’s really cool, that part I liked but so much of the day was dark and it was hard to see everything indoors. The main issue was repetition for me…not much separated the floors in my opinion, they all looked similar and it wears off after a while. The history is wonderful and I’m glad I learnt all about it and all the items discovered at the sight as well were wonderful to see but we found ourselves finished after an hour, I don’t know why but I imagined a castle taking a bit longer to look around.
Back outside, we explored the grounds and came across this giant wall!
Massive! Imagine a fall from that, I even said if I were in charge of this castle back in the day, I’d have used this as an execution method! Just throw them off the wall! Anyway…we also saw them working on a part of the castle grounds that needed updating and looking after, as did the castle every few decades to keep it going which takes a long time and that was fascinating, it must take so much time and effort to keep an old castle like this going!
We heard about another separate building on the grounds that we could go and look at, so we made our way up this hill but as we did…Oh look, here comes the rain again! With that said, we made it to the other building but didn’t take any pictures, we were more concerned with drying off to be honest
I’ll be honest, I think I preferred Osaka Castle to Himeji’s and after we left, we went to grab lunch at surprisingly…a Hello Kitty Cafe?! We did plan to go to the Zoo but it was raining too much so we skipped it! The cafe was not bad, I had an Ice Cream and a Juice and Emma had a pancake and coffee. We were the only ones in the store I believe, unless others were upstairs and they were showing a Hello Kitty show in Japanese and we didn’t understand a thing that was going on!
After that, we didn’t find much else in the part of Himeji that we were in which was surprising considering everywhere else we had been so far. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara all had much more to offer but maybe it’s unfair to compare everywhere we go with say a Tokyo or Kyoto, not everywhere is a sure fire hit to be a fun day. Himeji was not bad but sadly the bad weather made it hard to see enough of it…if it was a nice day then maybe I’d be more positive about the whole ordeal but it is what it is! At least we could see a Bullet Train speed through the station as we waited for our train to take us back to Kyoto.
We spent most of the day here and to be honest…it was alright but better weather would have made it possible to see more of this place but due to the weather, we saw the castle and nothing else really apart from a cafe and an arcade…a lot of places looked run down and it reminded me of a British Seaside town…minus the sea, was this the Japanese Blackpool…has one or two attractions and that’s it?! Who knows but as we headed back to Kyoto, we decided that our last full day in Japan was going to take place in Hiroshima…a place that I have always wanted to see, for obvious reasons.