Last Saturday, I got up early and went to the castle while Jeff watched Wren. It was great! It was a little strange being away from the baby. I had only gone out to dinner with out her before and there is a big difference between a meal and a half day trip but I think it was good for Jeff to have some time with his daughter and good for me to have a little break from my mom duties.
It was still extremely hot at the castle when I went. Jeff and his mom went on a week day and it was much less crowded for them. It was pretty packed when I was there. To get to the top of the castle you have to go up 6 flights of very steep stairs (they are almost as steep as a ladder). There is really only enough room for 2 people to go up or down at any one time so it only takes a couple slow people to really make the trip to the top take forever. I had to laugh as I was standing in the polite slow moving mass of sweating humanity making my way through the castle and appreciate how patient Japanese people are.
You also have to take your shoes off in the castle. You are handed a bag to put your shoes in and they collect the bags as you exit. They don't want people to scuff up the newly refinished floors with their yucky shoes.
Here are some of my favorite pictures. I grabbed the best ones from both Jeff's visit and mine.
|Here is the main entrance to the castle. There is no direct route to the actual castle, the paths to the castle wind around. This was done for defense, it made it very difficult for attackers to get to the main keep.|
|This shows a little bit of how elevated the castle is from the surrounding area.|
|Making your way to the keep. You can see the holes in the wall to the left, defenders of the castle can shoot arrows down on the invaders walking where this picture was taken. This is very typical of the path to the castle.|
|I just liked this picture.|
|You have entered the no-shoe zone!|
|Behind Eloise, you can see the really steep stairs.|
|This picture shows the inside of the castle and also one of the bizarre things that you see often in Japan, people wearing towels on their heads when it's hot to soak up their sweat. It looks really hot to me and an interesting fashion choice.|
|Looking up at the roofs|
|There was also a very nice garden on the castle grounds. Unfortunately, due to the crowds I was unable to check out the garden but Jeff and Eloise did.|
It was a great day and a nice last excursion before I leave the country.