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Himeji day trip

Written on: Friday February 12th, 2010

A journal entry from: Japan 2010

We got up very early today to catch a train to Himeji. Himeji's main attraction is the huge, beautiful medieval castle in the middle of the city. We had to walk from the station about 700m up a main street to the castle, it was exciting to see it get closer and closer. It was so photogenic, it was almost impossible to take a bad photo of it.

After looking at it from afar for a little bit, we went into the castle. We got to walk through all it's layers, eventually getting to the top floor to look out the windows at the top. After walking back down from the top of the castle, we went next door to Koko-en, gardens built on the former samurai quarters. I thought that we would get to see some of the old samurai quarters, but it was just gardens. However, the gardens were nice, there were about 5 different sections, each with a different themed garden.

In the afternoon, we visited the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History, behind the castle. My main aim here was to win one of the twice-daily lotteries, where the winner gets to choose to dress up as a 12th century Japanese princess in a 12-layered kimono (lame!) or a samuai (awesome!). When the time for the lottery came, we were the only people waiting, so I won by default. Of course, I chose to dress as a samurai. The process for dressing me was amazing. Two ladies had to help me and each piece of clothing or armour was either tied to my body or another piece of the costume. Each piece of the costume also had it's own specific knot. The full costume was EXTREMELY heavy, I felt that my neck was being pushed down into my body. However, I was brave enough to walk around a little bit and even mount the fake horse to pose for photos!

While I was being dressed, the international liasion person for the museum came to talk to Jack to find out who the strange woman insisting on "cross-dressing" was. She said I was only the 3rd woman to dress as a samurai (and second European), while 1 European guy had apparently dressed as a princess. She was actually really nice and was really happy to find out that our new edition of Lonely Planet had the lottery explained correctly in it (apparently the old one had the wrong times listed).