|O-Kiku’s Well (Okiku-ido): A ghost story|
|From the sign beside O-Kiku’s Well: "About 1500, Tessan Aoyama,* the chief retainer of Norimoto Kotera (Lord of Himeji Castle), plotted an intrigue against the lordship. Kiku, who was the maidservant of the Aoyamas as well as the lover of Motonobu Kinugasa, a loyal retainer of Lord Kotera, knew and warned Motonobu of lord's danger.|
"Then the plot failed. Aoyama and his follower Danshiro Chonotsubo falsely charged her with losing one of valuable dishes, his family treasure. At last they killed her and threw her body into this well.
"From then her sad voice could be heard from the well every night, counting one piece, two pieces, three pieces. Motonobu and some retainers defeated Tessan and his followers. After she was enshrined as Okiku goddess in Junisho Shrine, no voice could be heard from the well."
*The Himeji City castle brochure gives different spellings and names: Tetsuzan Aoyama, Lord Norimura Kodera, and Tatewaki Kinugasa (as Aoyama's follower).
Other ghostly stories include the death of the head carpenter of Himeji Castle who committed suicide by jumping from the top of the main donjon (castle keep) after his wife pointed out a flaw — the donjon was leaning slightly northward. There is also Uzume-mon (Ground Burial Gate), named after a legend where castle carpenters were buried alive after their job was done in order to keep its layout a secret. (source: Himeji City castle brochure, 1970s(?)