Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Matsumoto Castle, Japan

The journey to Matsumoto was the most beautiful yet. There was huge mountains and streams that ran alongside the train route. Matt spent the whole time stuck to the window, attempting to take the perfect photo.

When we eventually got to the castle, it was amazing. It was the complete opposite to Himeji in size and colour. It also had a huge moat that surrounded the castle, making it harder for invaders to capture. It is believed the castle was designed for Samurai when gunpowder had been discovered, as many of the defensive structures seem to be designed for guns.

We initally walked around the grounds, trying to find the best angle for the perfect photo. Just as we we reaching the end I heard gun powder explode. I was really sad that we could be missing a show/display (of what I thought to be cannons) so we rushed to the entrance to see what was happening. As soon as we were inside we could see Samurai with huge guns shooting in unison. It was really cool to see and a lot of gun powder was being used.

I personally prefered this castle to Himeji, it was a lot quieter to start with, but also seemed more cosy. The main keep was a lot smaller but the rooms were a lot less empty than Himeji and contained more English information. In addition the castle had a moonroom! Himeji is one of four castles (there are at least 48 in Japan) to have this room with three sides that open - it is effectively a 16th century conservatory!

We then visited the Matsumoto Museum - the entrance was included with the castle ticket. It had a pretty cool miniature city of Matsumoto and some giant boat. Unfortunately, a lot of the information was in Japanese which made it hard to know what things were.

On a side note, I wish to talk about Japanese toilets. So far I have been really impressed with them, but on our journey to Tokyo I came across the best toilets I have ever seen. When I walked into the toilet the lid lifted by itself for me. I then used the toilet seat cleaner wipes (all Japanese toilets seem to have toilets seat cleaner or toilet seat covers). Feeling comfortable with the toliet I decided to press the buttons on the side - one was to clean your bum with warm water that squirts at it. This was slightly weird so I quickly stopped it! The best bit was the sink! Throughout Japan I have struggled to find hand drying devices, but this sink had soap, water and dryer all under one section. To top it off, the hand dryer used warm air!

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