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October 10, 2005 – A journey to Himeji, Japan in Asia

Himeji Town & Castle

The town of Himeji seemed to be a bit gray and dreary. Himeji town was very much a suburban sprawl with a main street of shops and a couple of malls leading to the castle. On the way to the Unesco heritage site, the castle itself, which is about a 15-minute walk from the JR Station, stopped by Menme, a freshly made udon shop. The udon was quite delicious but not too filling, and it did take awhile to make (~ 20 minutes). A good place to try fresh handmade udon noodles though.

Himeji Castle, set upon a hill, is a lot more expansive and much more higher than Nijo Castle in comparison. But, the castle itself was a lot more dark and gloomy and rather simple in architecture inside. You can smell the musk of the wood. Himeji Castle consists of nine levels with very steep stairs leading to the top.

At the very top, you can stamp your brochure for proof, get a nice breeze to cool off, and a great view of the surrounding areas.

After touring the inside of the castle, we walked to other noted spots around the grounds. We came upon a well where a high official's lover was killed and thrown down because she ruined someone's plan to overthrow the castle's regime. It was said that she could be heard wailing every day and night until they enshrined her and put her to peace.

After that, we left Himeji feeling quite dreary and headed back to Kyoto Station. After picking up the backpacks, we finally found Internet that worked (connecting to Japan's Miako's wireless system was somewhat spotty) on the 9th floor at the station! WE found room at Toyoko Inn Higuchi Hirose-dori in Sendai and decided to head straight to that city. This also helped cut the travel time down. We didn't have to travel five hours from Kyoto to Tazawako anymore, which was supposed to be done from Kyoto the next morning if we had stayed. Smart move! Thirty bucks lost = time saved.

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