The Legend of Genbei Sakurai    Suicide Bailey    Obi or Belt Turret

There are some interesting stories and legends in many historical places. So does this castle.
When Ikeda Terumasa built this Main Tower, the master carpenter was Sakurai Genbei.
After he finished work on Main Tower, he felt relieved of a burden. However, he felt that the tower might lean a little to the southeast as he might have mistaken in having measured.
One day he climbed Main Tower with his wife, she indicated that the building had been magnificently completed, but to the regret it leaned a little to the southeast. Genbei was shocked because even a layman could see the error. One day he alone climbed up to the top of Main Tower and jumped to his death with a chisel in his mouth.

Wells of Himeji Castle

There were 33 wells within Inner Moat but there are only 13 left. The deepest well is that of Bizen Baily and it is 30 meters deep with water 6 meters deep.
The area in front of Bizen Gate has a well that is 25 meters deep, but with only 1 meter of water. It is said that water level is so low because of recent construction.

Photo of a well

Suicide Bailey or Quarter(Harakiri Maru)

This quarter is commonly called Harakiri Maru or Suicide Quarter. There is a building which has a wooden floor similar to a place to commit suicide, a nearby platform seems to be a coroner's seat. The well in the yard would be a place for washing the severed head. The entrannce to this quarter has a single gate in the Anamon Style (Tunnel Gate). These things seem to be stage settings for committing suicide. Because of all these things the place was named Suicide Bailey or Quarter. But in reality it was customary for a lord to commit suicide in the main tower when he could no longer live because his warriors couldn't ward off an enemy attack. And criminals performed this act in prison yards, so this quarter could not have been a suicide spot. This quarter is correctly called Obi Quarter. The platform in the building resembling a coroner's seat is a stone-throwing shel f and it helps in observation and defense of the castle. This area is near the Main Bailey and the back route, so it was an important defensive position.

Obi or Belt Turret(Obi no Yagura)

The building on the stone tunnel gate (Ana Mon) is in the Sukiya style(originally adopted for tea ceremony house). It is said that it was transferred from Fushimi Castle. This building might have been used as a resting place for visitors. The outer walls where the building stands are the highest in the castle, about 26 meters or 84 feet high.