Himeji

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Vending machines... on the train!

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American airplane: $200. Japanese commuter rail:

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We....

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... missed our stop. That's not "Himeji" behind us so much as "Aioi".

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The streets of Himeji reminded us of Florida or California, for some reason. The yellow strip is the ubiquitous textured sidewalk for blind people.

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This parade ground is the plain of the old city center of Himeji. Kids were flying kites that day.

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There are many courtyards in the castle, all rising toward the central keep.

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A picturesque tree.

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This was the most successful of about 8 attempts to take our own picture in front of the keep.

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A map of the castle and surrounding town circa ... 19th cent.?

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An arrowslit. The funnel shape allowed an archer within to fire at an angle out while exposing only a narrow slit to attackers.

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We took off our shoes in order to explore a n open corridor.

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An alley between corridors.

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This wing of the castle was for a great lady and her retainers.

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Inside, everything was wood and sliding doors.

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This diorama was made from a painting of the last lord and lady to live in Himeji.

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Each corner of the castle walls was beautifully decorated. The circular tiles at the peak of the roof were stamped with the insignia of one of the families that funded the construction.

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The main path to the central keep wound up through the courtyards.

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The path made for bountiful ambush points.

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This hipster couple highlights the strangely couple-heavy demographic at Himeji... and the ridiculous heels that Japanese women will tolerate .

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And that's us, another of the couples, albeit without high heels.

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The roofs had been planned to resemble waves on the ocean, and many vantage points had been considered along with this one.

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Inside it was dark.

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This map shows the various layers of city that had accumulated by the 18th century.

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Old gun racks ...

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... hold old guns. I like the dragon-head striking pins.

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Oooh, armour. I wish I had something for perspective. The person who wore this armor could not have been much more than 5 feet tall.

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Nice views from the top.

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There was an amazing scale replica of the wooden support structure for the castle. It's a seven story wooden building.

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Mappage! A 3D map of the city, in this case.