We take a walk to the Tsuruga Castle in Aizu Wakamatsu, a city where the influences of samurai remain strong even today. The five storied impregnable fortress and castle tower that stands today is a replica reconstructed in 1965, based on photographs and historical documents of the preceding Kurokawa Castle, built in 1384.
Shuri Castle served as the center of politics, foreign affairs and culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom since the 14th century, until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879. The World Heritage Site with its brilliant colors and stylish Ryukyu architecture is strikingly different from any castle I have witnessed in all of Japan.
Fukuyama Castle is one of the most beautiful castles I have witnessed on my travels in Japan. It belongs to the Edo Period. Most of the structures were destroyed in the air raids of World War II in 1945. Only the Fushimi Yagura and Sujigane Gate have survived the ravages of time.
Kochi Castle used to be the seat of the Yamauchi lords, who ruled over the surrounding area, then known as Tosa, during the Edo Period. Mani & I hike up the castle, the only one in all of Japan to have all the original buildings in the honmaru, or innermost ring of defense, still standing.
Kokura city is the gateway to the Island of Kyushu from the Japanese mainland. We go for an evening stroll along the dazzling waterfront up to the 400 year old flatland Kokura Castle built towards the beginning of the Edo Period.
We ride into the misty mountains of Mie, to visit Iga Ueno, the birthplace of Ninjas. At the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, dedicated to the history of the shadow warriors, we discover the awesome escape routes, hidden doors, traps and fake hallways of a Ninja dwelling.