On my way back from a hiking trip in Hakone, I made a last-minute decision to stop by at Odawara Castle. As I walked into the main compound of the castle, I caught the smell of animal dung. Lo and behold, right ahead was a cage full of monkeys! And to the left was an elephant in a den... Jeez, I've never expected to see animals in a castle! Believe it or not, before the castle was rebuilt in 1960, there was a ferris wheel!
Odawara Castle stood in the city of Odawara from the Warring States Period till the Edo Period. For five generations, it was the stronghold of the Hojo Clan, until it was taken over by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was later destroyed by the Meiji government but was restored during the Showa Period.