Hyogo: Himeji Castle

Located in Himeji City in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan, Himeji Castle (姫路城 Himeji-jō)  is the largest castle in Japan. Its complex is comprised of 63 buildings that were built on top of Himeyama Hill.

Himeji Castle is also called Hakuro-jo (White Egret Castle) or Shirasagi-jo (White Heron Castle) because of its brilliant white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight. The first structure built on top of Himeyama Hill was a fort built by Akamatsu Nornimura in 1333. In 1346, the fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle. 
A stone maker outside the castle vicinity
After two centuries, the castle was remodeled and renamed to Himeji Castle. In 1581, the castle was significantly remodeled and the three-story keep was added under the instructions of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu awarded the castle to Ikeda Terumasa for his help in the Battle of Sekigahara. Ikeda then rebuilt the castle from 1601 to 1609, expanding it into a large castle complex. In 1617 to 1618 several buildings were later added under the command of Honda Tadamasa.
The UNESCO Heritage Site Marker
Yup! That's me!
The "rock garden" outside the castle
Running going to the castle from its wide lawn.
I guess this one tells visitors about the history of the castle.
You have to visit this castle when you go to Japan!

The castle luckily remained intact even after the bombing of Himeji during World War 2 and the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. In 1993, Himeji Castle was registered as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan.

the castle from another angle
We visited Himeji Castle on our 24th day in Japan. It was our last stop during our Hyogo Prefecture trip. It was during this trip that my family got to experience riding a Shinkansen. We rode the train from Shin-Kobe Station in Kobe City. From the station in Himeji we could already see the castle. We rode a taxi to reach the castle grounds and luckily we managed to get a last minute pass to go around the castle complex. 
Check out the price!

The pathway to the castle keep.
Here's what I saw around and inside the castle:
A marker and the map of the castle
Gate going to the castle
Wall with information about the former owners of the castle
Lots of historical antique stuff
Mannequins playing cards inside of of the rooms
Example of roof decorations per period
Himeji Castle's very long corridor
The Okiku Well
Some stone coffins
What do you think are those holes for?
Sadly, when we visited a part of the castle was still being renovated. I managed to get inside the corridor and see the numerous displays and artifacts. I have to thank my godfather, Mr. Toshi for this trip though because he as the one who ran so that we could get the last minute tickets.
Family picture with the iconic Himeji Castle

Getting there:

From Kansai Airport, ride a JR train going to Shin-Osaka Station. From there ride a Shinkansen going to Himeji Station. From there you could take a 20-minute walk towards Himeji Castle or ride a taxi which is way faster (but costs you money).

Rating:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. The castle looks very unique and it is really nice that you could go here with your kid. Seems to be stroller friendly, which is definitely a plus for parents to small kids like you and me. The architecture of the castle is very attractive. I would love to visit it some day

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    1. Hi there, yes the castle is really unique. As a matter of fact it is one of the most beautiful in Japan.

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  2. hi
    this is a lovely write up , the stories of the castle really go back to generations . The instructions and details within the rooms are they in English and do we have guides who would show one around considering that the castle looks really immense

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    1. Hi there, when I visited I did not have any guides. You can rent the services of a guide but you have to call it ahead.

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  3. Interesting report and very nice pictures! Luckily, I also had the chance to visit this place earlier this year and even at the very start of the Cherry Blossom period. It was amazing, I love this iconic and elegant castle. Definitely a must-do sidetrip from Kyoto or Osaka!

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    1. I envy you, it was winter when I visited hence there was little natutre backdrop. Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

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  4. Castles in Japan would be something new for me. I saw many in Europe, but this one looks totally different.

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    1. You have to visit the castles in Japan. It is totally different from European castles

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  5. Japan is Always in my heart. I will go to Japan one day. waiting for that moment...

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    1. You should. This is just one of the many places that you could visit in Japan.

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  6. Haven’t been in Himeji. Your post is considered a virtual tour of the castle. Wonderful photos and family you got there!

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    1. Thank you Ann. I also frequently visit your blog to check out what other places I can visit in Japan. :)

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  7. Castles evoke a sense of history and curiosity. While today most castles are renovated and tales are adapted for tourism, its always fun trying to imagine why people built castles and how life was then. My sense is that people were far more chill back then!

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    1. You're right it gives visitors the experience of what it was like back then. I think people are more chill now that before though. Hahaha

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  8. This is such a unique castle and a very interesting one too. Those passages and the interiors are well preserved. Found the stone coffins quite interesting and am sure there were stories attached to them. Would love to see them myself. Cheers

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    1. Each part of this castle has a story attached to it. :) You should visit it someday. :)

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  9. The castle is just picture perfect. And it's great you get to share the moment with your family as well. :)

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    1. Yes that's true. Gotta love Himeji Castle.

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  10. Congratulations you made it to this iconic structure in Japan. I'm sorry to hear about some restricted areas. Hopefully, the reconstruction would be finished so people would fully enjoy the entirety of the castle.

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    1. Thank you Erica. :) I do hope to visit those areas once again when I visit Japan sometime soon.

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