Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
17Trip End Apr 25, 2012
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In the mid 19th century, the Aizu samurai were defeated here by the new Meijii government – which, in turn, ended the feudal/shogun era. The head samurai committed suicide and the castle was destroyed. The white five-story (originally seven-story) castle is built upon several floors of gigantic boulders. These boulders -- some of which are as tall as me -- also form the walls around the castle.
Inside the tower is a museum with many artifacts of the shogun era. Susan had great fun trying on a beautiful kimono
While the others climbed the tower, I walked over to the Rinbaku (Tea Ceremony) Garden. The building is 400 years old. It was saved from destruction by a local family and moved to these grounds when the castle was rebuilt. It is located in a small beautifully landscaped courtyard. I was served a bowl of bitter green tea and a red bean-filled sweet. The two flavors bounced off each other nicely. I happily enjoyed my snack and sketched two pine trees in the garden.
The castle grounds were teeming with school groups – all ages, kindergarten through high school. The little kids were especially cute running around in their little red shorts and pink or orange caps. Each school has its own uniform, so it was easy to see who belonged with whom.
We knew the castle was busy before we even got there. Many school groups, in bands of 6-12 were waiting at the bus stops en route. These middle school kids out on their own self-guided field trips amazed us. We saw them all over Kyoto and even Tokyo, with no adult in sight. Can’t imagine that ever happening in the states.
For lunch, we walked back towards Brent and Kris’ apartment (a long walk). We stopped at a Yakiniku (yaki=fire/grill, niku=meat). B & K ordered an assortment of meat which we cooked over an in-table grill. The assortment included beef, pork, and squid. You dip the meat into assorted sauces and eat it with rice. Yummy!
They had night classes, so Susan and I had a quiet evening to ourselves for reading and editing/sorting photos.