Himeji Castle - Hishi Gate Limited Exhibition
In February 2023, Himeji Castle held a special exhibit of the interior of the Hishi Gate. This is the huge gate that you go through when entering the castle after the ticket gate. This is the first time they've ever opened up the interior of this gate and I'm glad I journeyed down to see it. I've always thought the gate was a somewhat unusual construction. The 2 compartments on the first floor makes it look like a 2 story nagayamon and the bell shaped windows (katomado) are unusually ornate for a gate. Anyway, there were no real answers to these oddities, but what I did find interesting about going inside this gate was not what you can see inside, but what you can see outside. The gate is brilliantly designed at a strategic point to give sight lines or alleys of fire in all four directions covering a wide area in a perfect position to pick off intruders in any direction not to mention the complete control of the entire slope up to the gate. That angled slope and wide gate was intentionally built to push attackers across a line of fire while going up hill. Even though there may not be much to see I wish they had opened up the first floor too.