The first stop on a recent Japanese road trip was the city of Osaka, which is Japan’s second largest city. And with a population of 19 million, probably one of the worlds largest cities, too! Originally a merchant city, Osaka still has a large network of canals, that we enjoyed exploring.
Our toppings were mayo, soy sauce, green onion and bonito, which is dried fish shavings. Ella actually remembered the name from a documentary she saw on our favorite channel, NHK World. Good job Ella! I would rate the takoyaki as okay. The flavor was great, but I just don’t care for the rubbery octopus texture.
***Side note- ALL cabs in Japan have white, lacy seat covers over the seats. They are always pristine and I’ve no doubt that they are laundered daily. Also, the drivers ALWAYS wear a suit, tie and white gloves. I love this place!***
Himeji is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and was originally built in 1333, it has been restored many times since then, but this is still the original structure. This picture shows the original feudal town, with several moats in place.
We had our own personal tour guide, Takata-san, and he was wonderful. He works as a high school English teacher in the town, and really brought the castle and the old stories to life for the girls. Takata-San even shared a ghost story about the castle. Ella and Eva were thoroughly entranced!
Himeji Castle was used more as a military stronghold, than a residence. The kingdom was not considered conquered until the enemy troops reached the top floor, where the lord resided. So, a lot went into the design of the castle to keep enemies out.
The structure of the castle is made of wood planks that fit together like a puzzle. No nails were used to secure the building, and it has withstood centuries of earthquakes, wars and natural disasters. The girls enjoyed trying these hands-on replicas.
Walking up to the main castle, we learned more about the defensive strategies of the architecture. They thought of everything, including uneven stairs, hidden staircases, etc., to keep the enemy at bay. The girls loved hearing about these secrets.
After a fun afternoon exploring the castle, we got back in the car to our final destination, Hiroshima.