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).

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