Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn Buck

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Back by popular demand. Himeji Castle, Kansai

I have been told off for missing a blog last night, consider my wrists offically slapped and here is my missing post.

Yesterday we went "to the carstle!" at Himeji. This is the one that all the guide books pin as oozing Japan from it's seams. And you could see why. Especially in this season with an arching powder puff arm of cherry blossom framing every vantage point.

Himeji-jo is one of only a sprinkling of original castles left in Japan.

We spent about an hour queueing to go inside but really, the best bits were on the outside. There was not a lot to see inside other than some pretty awe inspiring views out of the windows. It's lucky we got there when we did as well, by the time we were coming out, there was a queue out of the gate and up the street. At the gate it warned of a three hour wait - and that was just to the ticket office! We only queued from the door of the castle which was now snaking all around the grounds probably adding another couple of hours!

When we got back to Kyoto in the evening we decided to have a wander back up to the temple to see it all lit up at night. We forgot what a long walk it was! It was so worth the leg ache though! It was far prettier at night (and a heck of a lot quieter!) with all the temples lit up from beneath really emphasizing the details (and hiding all the blemishes - the Japanese temples are not in as good a state as the Chinese ones). The blossom was also spot lit so everything was stunning. With the sound of trickling water from the waterfalls, the sugary scent of the blossom and the regal look of the temple, you could easily be transported into another life in another time. I imagined myself as a Japanese princess and my P was my handsome samurai!

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