By Hoyee Tse
Arriving at Odawara Station an hour early for a meeting, I decided to kill time. I didn’t want to be just sitting on the bench in front of the ticket gates checking friends’ Facebook posts on my smartphone. I opted instead to walk around and use my iphone6.
Walking towards the east gate, I immediately spotted the city vicinity map by the entrance. I stood in front of it.
“You are here,” proclaimed the friendly map. “And Odawara Castle is on the right!’
“Uhmmm,” I replied. “It’s just spitting distance.”
As I turned my gaze to the right, I was quite surprised to see a view of the main keep of the rebuilt castle. The original castle was built in the middle of the 15th century but its conquered ruins were completely pulled down in 1870 in compliance with the orders of the then newly installed Meiji Government to destroy all former feudal fortifications.
It took me about five minutes to approach the nearest gate. It was 11:00 in the morning and the sun was staring at the city with widely opened eyes. The heat felt like summer and upon arrival, at the shop by the entrance, some elderly people and children were queuing for ice cream.
I was feeling a little hungry. Thus, I joined the line for ‘soft cream.’ A cone of vanilla matcha looked enticing; although it was shortly before lunch, I yielded to this little temptation.
I had only an hour to kill. While licking my sweet matcha, I walked leisurely, beholding the magnificence of Japanese architecture. Castles, I thought, are built, conquered, destroyed, and rebuilt.
Find out more about Odawara Castle.
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I have a little garden: slightly bigger than the forehead of a cat. I grow herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and mint, and lemon grass, and lavender, and basil. Occasionally, I cook for myself. Sometimes, my Japanese wife and my daughter like my cooking. I come from the Philippines – it is said that there are more than seven thousand islands but I do not own one. I’d love to, though. I always carry a camera with me – in my walks, journeys, and wanderings. Most of the time, I’m home – staring at Fujisan and writing something.