Rain, and more rain all the way to Himeji. 1.5 hour drive to Himeji along one of the terrific elevated expressways, tolled of course. Surprising thing is the that the speed limits average around 80 kph. Probably because of the volume of traffic involved. The traffic flows very well though.
With a population somewhere over the 1,000,000, Himeji looked like a very nice little city as we drove through. Seemed to have a country feel and look to the part we drove through.
Himeji is the location of the Himeji Castle we visited this morning. Photographs were hard to come by while avoiding getting the camera wet. The photos appear to be a bit out of focus but that seems to be the falling rain between the camera. The castle is also known as the White Heron Castle due to its colour and apparently from the right view the castle with the connected residential building set either side, can appear to resemble a bird about to take flight. There were a number of developed castles on the site between 1333 and 1600 with the current castle being built between 1601 and 1609.
There have been a few restorations over the years, the last between 2009 and 2015. The castle was built as a stronghold in the event of a war but there is no record of it having been used as such. The timbers and floors are in a beautiful condition either as a result of the restorations or the fact that there was very little use of the building. To protect the floors, we were required to remove shoes while walking inside.
Many of the Japanese castles were ordered destroyed however this one survived to the present day. Attacking the castle would have been difficult as there were twenty-one gates that had to be breached. The white colour of the buildings comes from the white plaster coating the outside. This is a mixture of limestone, seaweed and crushed shells. This provided a level of fire resistance.
To capture the building itself after the gates have been breached, the attackers would have had to avoid the ambush points within the building and gain each floor while fighting their way up steep staircases.
An outside well is a monument to a servant girl who was tortured, killed and thrown down the well by an unsuccessful assassin when she warned the lord of an impending assassination attempt.
After driving back from Himeji, the rain stopped as we entered Osaka, so did the batteries I put in the SPOT before we left apparently, but the forecast is for a violent day tomorrow as Typhoon Trami passes by.
A trip through the underground walkway from the hotel to the railway station saw us collect out Rail Passes for the return trip to Hiroshima on Monday/Tuesday. Tomorrow will most likely be indoors or in the underground shops.