It is not the Himeji Castle alone which attracts people in Hyogo prefecture.
Today, I want to introduce you “Castle in the Sky” or Takeda Castle Ruins and “Ikuno Silver Mines”.
Takeda Castle was built in the middle of 15th century. Now we can not see any building but only stone walls remain on the mountain top of 350 meters high, which were constructed by special stone stack technique called “Nazra Zami”. The stone walls stand for more than 400 years. In the early morning from autumn to winter, the castle ruins are seen as flouting on the cloud, so it is called “Castle in the Sky”. Its size is 400m from south to north, 100m from east to west. Visitors can walk through the castle ruin which attracts people by changing beauty in four seasons. Visitors can use a bus from Takeda station of JR line, which goes to near the castle by 15 mins. Then 20 mins walk to the castle. On the foot of the mountain, there are 4 Buddhist temples, restaurants, cafes etc. The information center called “Tanka no Shiro” is near the Takeda station and a special hotel called “End” which is re-built by an old house is there.
20 minutes from Takeda station of JR line we can reach Ikuno station. There is “Ikuno Silver Mines” which was built in the middle of 16th century. The shogun Tokugawa Ilyas governed directly the mine which was famous as the Iwaki Silver Mine and Sade Gold Mine. At that time Japan was one of great countries which deliver silver to the world. In the Meiji era, the Ikuno Silver Mine was controlled directly by government and the first industrial high way for horse carriage was constructed. Visitors can use bicycles rented at the station; it takes about 20 minutes to get to the silver mine. Now the mine was opened to public and people can walk through narrow roads inside the mine. It is also attractive to visitors to see “Ginza boys” which are dolls created as young boys who worked inside the mine at the olden days. After enjoy walking inside the mine, there is a museum and shopping center where people can buy special Japanese sake brewed and matured inside the mine or other souvenirs. “Gin no Basha Michi” or the Old Silver Mine Carriage Road which was constructed by Meiji government. It stretches 49 kilometers between Ikuno Silver Mine and Chikamatsu Port (current Himeji port). The road continues to impress with the luster of historical figures that travelled along its length as a historical medium that transcends time. We can now see the part of its roads.
Takeda Castle Ruins and Ikuno Silver Mine are two attractie sites in Hyogo prefecture. If you have an experience visiting Himeji Castle, please try to visit here next time!