October is a pretty hot month in Japan. Having felt cold when we went there at the end of March – beginning of April, I expected to find roughly the same weather, and I planned my suitcase accordingly. Fortunately, I had brought some beautiful t-shirts, returning to the hotel every day drenched in sweat. We did the first (and necessary) laundry yesterday. So October is a month of smooth and pleasant weather.
Before going to the point, when I looked japanese cartoons, when I was little, I was always astonished by the profusion of dragonflies and sounds that filmmakers gave to the summer, I thought it was really an exaggeration. In Okinawa, when we got off the bus to grab a taxi, we went through a residential area on foot, the atmosphere was there: a dragonfly brushes over our heads and the cicadas so special in Japan (I would research on Japanese cicadas, but they do not sing like the ones of the French Riviera).
The Himeji Castle is the Japanese castle. When we speak of a castle in Japan, it is its white silhouette appearing in the sky we thought about. The building is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO and the Japanese are very proud of it, so they create a small character “castle” which is available in a host of goodies (but not a single snow globe, this is outrageous! and I’ve really searched hard).
The building was being restored until 2015, which is why we had not visited during our previous visit. It is an experience worth the trip, the hour in the shinkansen from Kyoto. Leaving the station, it is impossible to miss: the castle stands in the alignment of a large avenue. The more we approach it, the more impressive it is.
What we did discover that once inside is that it is entirely made of wood. Two huge pillars of cypress, if memory serves well, are the basis of the structure. These pillars are not in one piece, it would be hard to imagine the size of the original trees. The building is 5 floors and a basement.
To climb to the top (after removing your shoes and have put in a plastic bag), we climbed by steep stairs, taking care not to bump very low beams. There are moment in the stairs where one feels a little packed, as elsewhere, there is a sense of space. I could not help but notice the presence of anti-fire system. It is of course strictly forbidden to smoke in the building or nearby, but hopefully their are brumise protection system but not flood-like. To wood sometime water gives more damage than the fire.
The enemies the local lord would therefore have had ample leisure to burn down the castle? To protect it, it is covered with a coating of 3 centimeters thick, made of hot ash and shell.
We then directed our steps to the garden Koko-en, located next door. It was created in 1992 and reproduced the gardens of the Edo period. So we had the pleasure to browse through 3.5 hectares of lakes, streams, stepping stones, bamboo forest and carps.
We saw the first fruits of autumn, beginning timidly to tint the leaves of maples. Soon it will be the explosion of shimmering red.
Back in Kyoto, Xim made a small detour technology also went shopping and watching prohibited G-stuff . The photos speak for themselves…
Note: I would like to take some of the people from France train system and ask to install a shinkansen. The TGV is really not up to par. Room for luggage, foot, space, comfort and courtesy and availability of train staff… For France, this level of service remains science fiction.