Granstedt's Round the World Trip 2009 travel blog


We have had a fairly interesting day today and done a bit of traveling around Japan. The weather has been pretty nice. No direct sun-shine, slightly overcast and not too hot. Perfect weather for a bit of sightseeing.

Our first destination was Himeji. Himeji is a small town south of Osaka and Kobe on the east coast of Japan. It is really only famous for its castle overlooking the town. The town of Himeji wasn‘t all too exciting - we simply walked through it and quickly concluded that it wasn‘t worth any energy spent on it. The palace was completed in 1580 on a spot where there have been castles since 1333. The palace is also known as Shirasagi - The White Egret due to its stately white form. It goes without saying that Himeji Castle is a World Heritage site - I’ve lost count of how many we have seen so far.

The castle has a five storey main tower and three smaller towers. The entire structure is surrounded by moats and defensive walls. In the walls they have various openings for firing guns, shooting arrows etc. The palace looks surprisingly Disney-like and we were surprised the Disney hasn’t yet managed to get some inspiration from this palace for making a cartoon.

We had to get up at 7.30 in the morning to get to Himeji. It was fairly stressful packing our bags and we were surprised that we didn’t managed to get everything into the bags again. It seems that the contents of our bags increase in size and won’t ever reduce.

Our train departed at around 9.15 in the morning and we arrived at Himeji sometime around 11.00. We traveled by some sort of express train and the trip was surprisingly quick. We spent the time traveling playing with our computer. Iris sorted out the pictures and I wrote yesterday’s blog entry.

Both of us really liked the Himeji castle and thought it was very pretty. We got loads of pictures of the outside and we were very impressed with the fairy-tale look of the castle. The inside of the palace wasn’t too exciting though. The castle was mainly built for defense purposes and there wasn’t anything of major interest inside. We managed to climb to the top of the building though and it had a very good view. Looking out of the windows on the top floor made you really understand why the castle was built where it was.

We noted something fairly Japanese at the top floor. A very long queue to get a souvenir stamp. We have seen a lot of souvenir stamps around and just put one in a notebook for fun. But the Japanese visiting Himeji were really taking it seriously. The queue was always 10-15 people long eagerly queuing to get their stamp. Thinking about it, the Japanese seem very keen on stamping everything… Guess it must be something to do with officialdom.

We were finished with Himeji at around three in the afternoon and we weren’t too sure what to do next. We had booked a hostel in Osaka for the night but felt that it was a bit too early to head there. Osaka isn’t meant to be a very interesting place. As we had passed Kobe on our way to Himeji, we decided to get off there on our way back.

Marcus



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