Summer Journeys – Himeji (姫路) (and Tom Cruise!)

Well, hello again 😉 Time to continue my reports about my summer trips in Japan. I’m actually skipping a week now, because during that time Jonas and I were in Hiroshima and tere just isn’t much to tell. So we’re talking about the 15th and 16th of September in this article, when Jonas and I went to Himeji on our way to the Kansai region.

I guess most of you will have already seen a picture of the Himeji Castle, which is the most famous one in Japan as far as I know. One of its most prominent features is the white colour of the whole castle, which gave it the name of “The Castle of the white Heron”. It should look like this: Link. Sadly, when we went there to meet up with Minami, a good friend who had studied at the University of Hamburg for a year before, it looked a bit less impressive, due to ongoing renovations.

 But thankfully nothing that couldn’t be fixed by clever posing 😀

A most clever disguise for the castles’s renovation building – just put two cool Germans up front and noone can see it anymore. We should maybe start marketing that!

But yeah, due to te ongoing renovations we also were unable to enter the castle and just took a stroll through the castle gardens (where we saw many black cats lying aroung and doing nothing – luckily none of them crossed our way. phew!) before we went on for some shopping and visiting Minami’s family later. We had nice evening again there and they were all very nice. We even taught them a German game (if some of you happen to know “The Settlers of Catan”), which I gloriously lost xD

Jonas and Minami standing in the castle’s exit gate during the slowly approaching sunset. 

On the next day, we still had one place to visit befor continueing to Osaka: Mt. Shosha and the Engyoji temple are on top. Now while that may strike some as “Oh, another temple? Again?”, this one is a bit special. But I won’t spoiler it now, because you have to watch the not so special stuff first 😛 We went there with Minami and her mother, who was so nice to drive us there and even payed for the use of the ropeway… of course we were really grateful, but still, these Japanese are too nice ^^”

Himeji Castle Field, seen from Mt. Shosha. No idea how exactly they did that, but it looked nice 🙂 

Ringing the temple bell – made some big noise, I tell you! But a pleasant sound nonetheless. 

The main building of the temple, the Maniden Hall, is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy and is classified as “Important Cultural Property” by the Japanese government. It’s standing halfway on the mountain and the other half is secured by many pillars below it. If there’s some more interest for pictures of the inside, I can upload them too (I’m looking at you Jos 😉 ), but I figured it would be too much for this article.

Now we get to the interesting part, I mentioned earlier. I’ll show you two pictures now, made on Mt. Shosha and I want to see if they ring any bell with you. Look carefully and use your cinema knowledge! I’ll write the solution further down, but try for yourself first and tell me about it in the comments 🙂

So? Any ideas? Of course, you have to exclude the movable wall in the second picture 😉

Still nothing? Ok, here comes the solution:  Link.

These pictures show the Daikodo and Jikido hall of the Engyoji temple, which were both sets in the movie “The Last Samurai”, filmed in 2002.  Compare them to the left pictures if you klick the link. You’ll surely recognise the places. Now I didn’t meet Tom Cruise here (and I can imagine the fangirls booing, who came here because of the headline :D), but it was still nice to see the place where parts of the film were put together. You know, besides it beeing a really cool place anyway.  Maybe I should watch the film again now…

 Hundreds of small communists, silently watching us as we passed by 😮

 On the way down in the ropeway. Minami’s mother, Minami, me and Jonas 🙂