Looking Up

Today’s post is a response to the Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge. I took this photo when I was visiting Himeji Castle back in September 2015. It was a seeringly hot day and we were queuing to get into the castle for about 2 hours. Now, queuing for that long gets boring very quickly especially in 27 degree heat with no shelter from the sun. As we eventually moved closer to the castle and actually entered the grounds, things got much more interesting. We were about to pass through a gate in the outer wall when I looked up and saw the layered roof of the castle stacked above me. I really love the way in which each layer of the roof is displayed against the backdrop of the blue sky.

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Himeji Castle is a World Heritage Site built in the mid-14th century. The tower was added in the 16th Century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and remodelled during the 17th century.

This castle is very unique as the original castle is still standing today. Many castles across Japan are modern reconstructions, usually due to fires, weather damage or wars. In the case of Hiroshima Castle, the original construction was destroyed during the atomic bombing of 1945. Himeji castle is a beautiful white castle, likened to the spreading wings of a white heron. It is a huge castle with an immense expanse of grounds and gardens and a wonderful view from the top. It is also host to many innovative architectural and tactical defense devices.

Himeji Castle reopened in 2015 after 5 and a half years of renovation. The extensive project cost 2.4 billion yen and is the main reason for the huge crowds that visit the castle every day since. The day I visited with my friends was extremely busy as it was also a bank holiday weekend. Despite the crowds and long, long queuing times (it took a total of about 4 hours of queuing all the way to the top of the castle and back again) I enjoyed myself immensly. It was refreshing to visit a castle with its original interiors still intact, as opposed to the standard museum interior showing recontructions of life in the castle during its prime.

See below some more photos I took during my visit.

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The Queue

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The unique original interiors showing the weapon racks used bytthe resident soldiers.
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Defensive devices – a trap door used by the soldiers.
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View from the top – the castle grounds and Himeji City

 

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