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<< BusTrip to Matsumoto & Obuse >>

Pan, Huai (China)
Bus Trip to Matsumoto & Obuse Many visitors to Matsumoto Castle, including me, will be amazed by the well maintenance of the castle. Being one of the few existing castles of the feudal era, it was built in the period between 1592 to 1614. Surrounded by the autumn red leaves in Nov, the castle looks just as solid and shinny in the blue sky as a brand new one.

The answer is that when the donjon (central fortress) was completed, Japan was a consolidated nation under one government in Edo. No battle was ever fought here after that. Therefore, the castle, though designed to be used as a fortress turned out to be a symbol of power and later a representative of cultured lifestyle as two additional turrets were attached to the donjon. Besides above reason, in the end of 19th century, Matsumoto citizens raised money, bought the castle for the city, and restored it to its former glory.

Visitors are supposed to take off their shoes while visiting the interior of the building. Plastic bags are distributed for visitor to store their shoes and carried all the way till they go out from another outlet. I am not sure the heavily armed ancient solders took off their shoes or not. But personally, I do think the tradition of taking shoes off do reduce the worn-out of the interior. And it added a Japanese flavor while feeling the history. Besides your hands, your feet touched and sensed the smoothness of the wooden floor and stairs due to 400 years of usage.

It was close to 5pm when we arrived in Obuse, a city famous for chestnut and painting. Walking down the slope path among the shopping area and museums, we could see the yellow cozy light coming either from Japanese style square lamps in front of shops, or the round paper lamps through the grid sliding doors.

It erased in my heart a mixed feeling of peace, warm, missing of beloved ones, little sad of such a beautiful day had to come to an end. It was very Japanese style feeling, I guess. It probably also explained, why, besides chestnut ice cream, so many of us stopped in a paper shop and bought gifts purely made of a kind of special Japanese paper. There is no better way to express us and saved the memory by sharing the beautiful experience with our friends and family as I am doing now by writing this short diary.

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