Nijo Castle

This morning, after discovering I had deprived us of the internet for the past two days by accidentally unplugging the router, we took a bus to a handicrafts centre, and all spent too much money. I only bought a bag and a book for Dad about Honda, but it was a pricey place. And ENGLISH-LANGUAGE BOOKS! That was pretty exciting. So we spent ages and ages browsing there and hoping to will more money into existence. The staff were lovely, and one woman had lived in Sydney for five years, so her English was brilliant. And she complimented me on my Japanese pronunciation. Score!

After spending up big, we took a bus to Nijo Castle. I was pretty excited about Nijo Castle. Sean put me on to this excellent series called the ‘Tales of the Otori’ set in a sort of version of feudal Japan, and the first book is called ‘Across the Nightingale Floor’. Nijo Castle actually HAS a nightingale floor, which I totally didn’t realise was a real thing. Basically it’s just an uber-creaky floor so the castle’s occupants can hear if someone is approaching. An olde-worlde security alarm if you will, and rather like walking down our hallway at home. But it was so cool to actually see THE nightingale floor! And walk on it! We had to take our shoes off, but even the lightest footfall makes a sound. And it really does sound musical. The floor sort of chirps and sings, rather than creak and groan. We took a photo of underneath (you can sort of get a view of it from outside) and there are these little skewers in all the planks of wood, that somehow make it sing. It was awesome – I felt like a little kid. The grounds around the Castle are pretty great as well, and there is lots of cherry blossom and other types of colourful flowers. We’ve actually come at the end of the blossom cycle (it came unusually early in Japan this year), but it still looks fantastic, regardless.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle
Beneath the nightingale floor

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle

By this time I was crazy tired. I don’t know why exactly, but I think I’ve just done too much without a rest day, so I might chill out tomorrow because I don’t want to be tired for our last few days in Japan. We made our way to Kyoto Station and had lunch, and then I departed, and headed back to the house. The others stayed out for a few more hours, but they are on their way home now, and I’ve had a shower and a rest and feel a bit better. Dad’s cooking tonight, with rice and duck and some delicious pickled bamboo and marinated mushrooms we bought at the market in Takayama. Can’t wait!

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