237 - 19th September 2006 - Himeji, Osaka

Fountain in Osaka near our Youth Hostel - The whole thing was choreographed very well

Our first view of Himeji Castle

This castle is regarded as the finest in Japan

The main gate

Dan Cruickshank came here for his 'Around the world in 80 Treasures'

The castle was never successfully attacked due to it's ingenious layout and design

It's also quite amazing to look at

One of the rooms off the 'Long Corridor' where the ladies in waiting lived

The view over the town

These trees were planted specifically for their high water content. The theory being that a fire would not penetrate a wall of these trees. Sadly, very few are left due to pollution.

This is princess Sen and her lady in waiting playing a memory game.

The walls are covered in arrow holes and slots like this for dropping stones or boiling water or oil on invaders

The path Zig-Zags backwards and forwards meaning invading armies are almost always being attacked from behind

White fluffy clouds

We were lucky enough to have a free English speaking guide

This is one of the few original walls left standing. It is called the Oil Wall

A deep well in the castle - The deepest is 45 meters

These show the crests of the various Dayimo that lived here

More holes for dropping things on people

The view from the top of the castle

Looking towards the station

The shrine in the uppermost room. The family would commit suicude here if invaders ever got this far - but they never did.

We were on the tour for two hours with these guys from Croydon and Bromley. Abe (pr. Ah-Bay) was our guide.

The moat

An example of Japanese train efficiency - They tell you exactly where to stand to get on the train. In this example carriage 12. You have to be careful though - 8 car trains may have their numbers in different places to the 16 car trains. Only twice have we had to run the length of the platform because we were in the wrong place. We think we have it figured out now though.

The Shinkansen. We saw a Nozomi super-fast train go through before this one arrived. It is a stunning sight.

The fountain by the Youth Hostel by night.