Since friday was 'culture day' in Japan, Y0-chan had the day off and we took a trip to the neighboring island of Shikoku.
With the help of G00gle Maps. let me try to explain a little bit. Take
a look at this map. We drove east from Fuku0ka( 福岡 ) on the west side of Kyu$hu to the town of B3ppu ( 別府 ) and then took a ferry across to the
Japanese island of Shikoku.
Actually Shikoku has that
narrow peninsula that sticks way out,
so we took a shorter ferry that goes to a port about 3/4 of the way out
called Misaki. It took about 1.5 hours and its a car ferry so we drove
y0-chan's car. We didn't have a specific plan for the rest of the day,
so we just played it by ear...
We stopped at the first rest stop after landing and found out that the
first main city we were passing through had a castle... (and you know
its all about visiting the castles...)
It was a pretty small town called Ozu ( 大洲 ), there really isn't much
of anything around the castle, except a few houses, some of which are
even built on top of the old outer walls of the castle.
Being in a small town in the middle of nowhere this castle is not very
big as far as castles in Japan goes, only about 60 ft tall:
At first I was not very impressed... but then once we got inside I
learned a little more about this structure. It turns out that the two
buildings on the sides were original, but the main tower was destroyed
about 120 years ago. About 2 years ago it was rebuilt, but unlike the
big castles rebuilt in the last 50 years (Kumamoto, Osaka, etc), they
did this one completely original - out of wood and plaster using
traditional techniques. (much like the smaller turrets and
quarters being rebuilt at Kumam0t0 castle). I believe its the tallest reconstructed wooden castle currently.
They did a really good job too:
The woodwork is pretty good. But not exactly wheelchair friendly...
They make you take off your shoes at the door of course, but at the
last set of stair cases they suggest you put the ill-fitting free
slippers in the box rather than tripping on your way down those stairs.
(which may or may not happen after you bash your head into that beam).
For me just studying the construction is interesting... On the 2nd picture I've used photoshop to draw a green line on the
The castle is situated on a hill in a crook in this river. Apparently it held some strategic value at some point. Here's
a map via g00gle.
At this point the castle is still listed as 'the ruins of Ozu Castle' (
大洲城跡 ). [as an aside, notice how detailed the map data g00gle has for
japan is. They've got labels for supermarkets, convenience stores, gas
stations, government buildings, etc. looks like they've licensed the
whole bit from car navigation system mappers or something...]
They had an informative diagram showing the relative sizes of a few castles in these parts vs the rest of japan:
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