DJ Spin-doctor M and I, today, explored the 'White Heron' also known as Himeji Castle, which firstly involved us hopping the Shinkansen to Himeji, a 'small town' between Osaka and Okayama, now I say 'small town' because that is what it was referred to as in one of the guidebooks, it is actually a metropolis about the size of Canberra. Small town indeed. I short walk up the main street leads us to the Castle grounds, we decide that food is the highest priority at that point so we fore go the main castle, and detour to nearby Kokoen, which is a reconstructed version of the Samuri quarters, and also most importantly contains a restaurant. We treat ourselves to a dainty yet satisfying lunch set of noodles and unagi (eel), and continue on through the beautiful gardens of the Samuri. All of the gardens are so meticulously kept here in Japan, and today I saw how, the Kokoen had gardeners everywhere, trimming single leaves off trees, sweeping footpaths, one was even vacuuming the scum off the bottom of the pond so that it didn't build up too much.
After the gardens, we wandered up to the main castle, the top tower is closed at the moment for restoration, as the castle is a World Heritage site, being one of the few remaining wooden castles in Japan, most of which have been destroyed over the years by fire.
The castle is a magnificent fortress, built quite obviously for strong defensive purposes, but ornate and beautiful at the same time. It is situated high on the hill. DJ M and I are going to have some serious 'Buns of Steel' by the end of this trip. Up all the stairs, we had a clear view over all of Himeji, and found the storage warehouses and windows for arrows that make me think that Playschool has been taking their ideas from the Edo period. We hiked all the way back down, down is always so much quicker, and Shinkansen-ed our way back to Osaka.