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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Himeji Castle, Beautiful, Impregnable Fortress

Aloha Everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving! Today the three of us spent the entire morning visiting Himeji Castle. This is the finest, largest and most visited castle in Japan. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Treasure and Special Historic Site. For more than 400 years, Himeji Castle has survived WWII as well as natural disasters.

Himeji Castle is located on a hilltop with 83 buildings. It is a beautiful castle with advanced defensive systems. The castle is also known as Hakuro-jō (White Egret Castle) or Shirasagi-jō (White Heron Castle) referring to its brilliant white exterior which resembles bird taking flight.

It took us less than 15 minutes walk from our hotel. We were approached by 4 children in school uniforms. It turned out that they are all 6th graders at Hakuro Elementary School. Intelligent and articulate, their history class assignment is to learn about the castle history and to be able to offer information to visitors.

The children mentioned that there were 7,000 visitors yesterday. However, because there are no secondary activities, most packaged tourists make only a brief stop on the way to Kyoto or Nara. When I told them that we are staying at APA Hotel for 2 nights, they thank us for helping the local economy. My Mother was impressed.

My Mother climbed with us all the way up the Castle Keep. She is very pleased to note that today she achieved over 5,600 steps on her pedometer.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was at Zenya, a seafood specialty restaurant where individual dishes were prepared to orderYou watch chefs cook in an open kitchen.

Aloha -- Cathi