Inside Himeji Castle
castle map
"Illustrated Map of Castle
Keep" (6 floors & basement)
corridor
corridor
structural system
"Structural System of
the Main Tower"
corridor
corridor
corridor
corridor
window view
window view looking at
other parts of the castle
city view
view below looking
toward the city
side view of castle
side view of castle
Harakiri-maru: Though the name sounds ominous, the courtyard sign said this area was not used for ritual suicide but resembles such a place.
sign
sign
Harakiri-maru
Harakiri-maru
Harakiri-maru
Harakiri-maru
O-Kiku’s Well (Okiku-ido): A ghost story
O-Kiku's Well

O-Kiku's Well
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(?)
Outside the Castle
Himeji Castle and park
People are in the park
picnicking and enjoying
the cherry blossoms.

close-up of previous photo
park Himeji Castle
close-up of previous photo
manhole cover
The manhole cover says,
"No Littering & Keep Clean."
souvenir shop
souvenir shop
(no larger photo avail.)
city shopping area
city shopping area
saxophone player
saxophone player