Every 90 minutes or so there'd be a demonstration of period weapons by men in period costumes. Even from the top floor, it was loud. Oh, and those aren't people just lining up to see the action. That's the line to get in. Don't go to Japan during Golden Week.
It's hard to take a bad picture of this amazing place. This is from the grounds (called a bailey, or ward) inside the outer walls. The castle gets its white tone from the plaster used on the otherwise black tiles on the roof.
The most obvious, and still most striking, difference between Japanese castles and European ones is the latter are mostly stone, while the Japanese are built of mostly wood and plaster. This is inside a defensive wall, remember. Plaster is pretty decent flame retardant, so there's that.
Sensing (incorrectly) a break in the crowds, I made my way toward the keep. The only way to approach is well covered by defensive positions. Note the holes in the walls. Those aren't for ventilation (well, not just for that).
After removing your shoes (of course) and making your way down a connecting hallway, this is the first area. It's essentially a wraparound corridor that doubled as the armory. Note the pegs on the walls for holding weapons. The inside of this area we'll see later.
Each dormer has one of these little nooks. I wonder if the kids who lived in the castle were as drawn to these as modern kids are. Every floor the kids touring the place would aim for these. Also notice the windows far from the floor. Since this was part of the design, there's a walkway underneath to allow access.
At the end of the tour, you end up here for a great photo op. Also check out my 360-degree video from this area (which took forever to shoot because people kept walking up to the camera to check it out).