Monday, September 19, 2011

Hiroshima Castle

A couple blocks up from the Peace park is Hiroshima Castle. It was destroyed during the a-bomb, but was rebuilt in the 50's.

Outside Wall
 The castle stood for hundreds of years and was the beginnings of a military presence in Hiroshima. We learned about the feudal lords who developed the land, build the moats (three total) and lived in the castle for over 700 years uninterrupted. Once we crossed the entry bridge we found a free tour of the guard wall. Inside they had miniatures of how the area looked over the centuries.

 The castle is considered a special area so we were required to take off our shoes. They have soled booties that you borrow so you aren't barefoot. I think technically we weren't supposed to take them because we had socks on, but we didn't realize till we saw others in the museum.

The first room had real tatami mats and described how they would be laid out for guests and the royalty.

Tatami room
 The rest of the building had rules about photography so we got a picture of the outside. A large drum was at the very end that was used to signal meal times and announce danger. We thought it would be smart to attack at supper because then they would just think it was time for chow.

Castle Wall
 Most of buildings inside the castle wall have not been rebuilt. Many are still ruins left over from the a-bomb. The rest of the area has turned into a park. While walking through it we came across this tree. It is one of very few trees to have survived the nuclear bomb in the whole city. They have pictures of it over the years. Now it seems to be pretty healthy.

My Gloria Gaynor tree
 Another section of the park is the Shinto shrine. The white torii gates designates that it is a Shinto shrine and means we can enter. We are not allowed to enter a Buddhist temple.

Shinto Shrine
 They were setting up for a large outdoor event so much of the area was closed off to the public. We did snap a picture of the water fountains. We have seen them around in other Shinto shrines, but this one was photo-worthy. You take the bamboo cup and pour the water into your hand to drink.

Water Fountain

Moat #1
 Finally after a winding trail we made it up to the castle. The inside has been turned into a museum and for a small fee you can climb to the top. This was the most interesting museum I have been in so far. It has exhibits that show you how samurai lived. It showed the comparison between samurai and the merchant class. There were sets of clothes that you could try on to see how heavy the samurai getup was during the time. It is definitely geared towards children. Unfortunately you can't take any pictures inside.

Hiroshima Castle
The view from the top is breathtaking. I understand why the feudal lords decided to select the area. You can see the whole city of Hiroshima. Add in protection of three moats and the natural barrier of the river and I understand why it stood for so long. Definitely a fun trip!

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