We spent our last day of vacation in the sleepy town of Inuyama, to visit Japan's oldest surviving castle. Inuyama castle was built in 1537 by Shogun Nobuyasu, and actually served as a military headquarters, rather than a home. The more I learn about Japanese history and their natural disaster's, wars and fires, I am even more amazed this place is still standing!
Ella climbs anything and everything!
This large tree next to the castle was designated sacred, because it was once struck by lightening which shielded the castle from ruin.
These twisted ropes always designate sacred items or places. You will see them at temples and even outside sake breweries.
Some original samurai armor. It actually looked about Ella's size!
The woodwork was amazing! The ceiling had angled wood beams so that the ninja could crawl along the ceiling easily. I would love to see a demonstration!
The hallways were extra wide, to allow for several samurai to easily pass each other, while wearing armor.
We got our own personal tour guide, for free. He was very friendly and spoke great English. Apparently, he lived in Detroit for three years.
The structure of this castle was phenomenal. This is a model of the skeleton.
There were no nails used in the castle's construction, just joints, and it has withstood hundreds of years of earthquakes. Amazing!
The hill in the distance was where a rival shogun lived. Many battles were fought between the two castles.
Peach and turtle statues were all over the place, this one was WAY out on the edge of the roof. The significance? Turtles were thought to live 10,000 years and the peach family of fruit, was known for its medicinal properties. So, they believed these were symbols of a long, prosperous life.
The view from the top was breathtaking! However, the only thing keeping you secure, on a three foot wide walkway, was an old wooden railing. (My mother would not have liked this.)
Pictures of the past Shoguns lined the wall. This was an inherited position that has been done away with today. You can see how the dress changed with the growing western influence. The most recent shogun (far left) really wanted this picture of himself used, with a drink in hand. Haha!
Outside of the castle, the children's shoes were so impressive! The Japanese culture is so orderly.
They even had staff around the grounds to take the perfect photo for you!
After the tour, we wandered the town to two other small museums. Along the way we passed a samurai armor shop. The man was so kind and enjoyed seeing the girls. He quickly grabbed helmets for them to try on.
We saw some very ornate Japanese puppets and the girls enjoyed operating them. This is the ancient art form known as, bunraku, which is a very elaborate puppet show. (As for me, I couldn't help singing "The Lonely Goatherd"!)
The last museum had a replica of a fishing boat that was used for cormorant fishing. Our guide explained this method as follows; the cormorant caught the fish, then choked, and then vomited it into the basket. And voila, dinner! (This method is still used for river fishing, in some parts of Japan.) I had no idea....
I just had to throw in one more yukata shot!
Up next, the five hour drive home. Truck stops here could actually be described as peaceful!
A great end to a lovely vacation.