Takeda Castle Ruins, also known as Castle in the Air. .
Tucked deep in the region of Hyogo, Takeda was only recently known to the rest of the world.
She is served by Takeda Station on the Jr Bantan Line.
I checked and searched, finally decided upon Himeji as my start point as she is the nearest and the cheapest to Takeda.
Takeda Castle Ruins used to be relatively unknown and thus no admission fee was required. However due to the recent influx of visitors both inland and overseas, inorder to protect and maintain the premises, a small admission fee is now charged, 300¥.
A small price to pay for the breathtaking view on top of the walls, no bars hold.
From the Jr Takeda station, a shuttle bus will take you to the top. However the bus starts running at 9:45am, and together with that, the crowd. So if you, like me prefer to enjoy the sight without the noise, come early and walk up the route.
Turn right from the station, walk all the way till you see a fork in the road. The bamboo walking canes on the road side is a sure indication you are right on track. Before you proceed, the walking canes are there for a reason. Take one. I did and I'm not ashame to admit. Turn right and the nightmare begins.
The ascend is tough. Remember our target was a mountain top type castle. Wear sensible and comfortable footgear. I was there in Autumn 2013, thus the weather was cool, but still I managed to worked up quite a good sweat. At the end of the route, one hour later, is a small ticket booth (depends on how long your legs and how fit you are, I have short legs and I'm round). After paying your dues, more challenging incline to tackle. Slopes and then a series of steps to navigate. If you are not into exercising, wait for the 9:45am bus.
I personally prefer to reach my destiny by foot. You get to experience, see and feel more.
The impact of the beauty is the greatest when you had to sweat hard to get there.
Not forgetting I can use the workout as a good excuse to feast later on.
Takeda Castle Ruins, only the walls of the castle remain. But that did not matter, not at all. The sheer size of the bare structure, rising up into the sky. The view from the top, the town and valley below, the opposite mountain ranges. The colors, the dizzying heights, the danger of falling over the edge - all these came together and punched me hard.
It didn't matter to me I have height phobia. This place had me down on all fours so that I could move closer to the edge, to get a better feel of what it felt like to be on the edge.
As it was rather early, no crowd, just a few people here and there. Taking pictures was easy without the crowd getting in the way.
No fences, no bars, nothing to prevent you from moving closer to the edge, if you dare, nothing to stop you from falling over, if you are that stupid.
From the highest point, I sat and absorb the beauty. Using my visual power, I tried to soak in as much as I could. I can only imagine what it was like, a few hundred years ago, the castle standing tall and proud. And what happened that caused it to fall into disrepair and ruins.
Then the crowd began to file in. The noise, the chattering, the clicking, the smell of human pollution. It is time for me to file out.
Near the station, I found a eatery, very unique. It is not just a eatery, but a art house too.
It was a traditional Japanese house turned into eatery. Patchworks were on display, handmade items and cookies were on sale too. I had toasted mochi in red bean soup, tasted like Heaven.
The town is still not fully developed to cater to the amount of tourists they will be receiving. Trust me, she will be receiving a lot more attention with the internet now bursting with more information. So as of now the town is relatively quiet, no shopping mall, no conbini, no high rise buildings! No hotels. I don't know what kind of changes these attentions will be bringing to this simple town. But I will definitely visit this place again, in near future before the money and commercializing take over and turn this wonderful place into another tourist trap.
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