Take a look at the fabulous Himeji Castle or the White Heron Castle, as we walk its grounds.
Feudal Japan evokes images of majestic and imposing castles and sword wielding samurai warriors. Himeji is home to one the of the finest examples of traditional Japanese castle architecture, the quite imaginatively named “White Heron” castle.
Himeji Castle dates back to 1333 and the subsequent centuries have seen extensive remodeling of the castle by its occupants over the years. Most famously, it remained intact in spite of extensive bombing of Himeji during World War II. Being an UNESCO world heritage site, the castle is visited by a huge number of tourists annually. It recently underwent a massive restoration exercise that ended in March 2015
I journeyed to Himeji from Kyoto to catch a quick glimpse of this majestic Castle. The day was quite overcast with intermittent showers, which while not ideal for photography made for great dramatic atmosphere. Here is a kind of “guided” tour of the famed Himeji Castle
How to get There
Himeji is connected to most major cities via the rail network. You can take a shinkansen from Kyoto to get to Himeji. The train takes about an hour to reach Himeji. From the train station the castle is a 15-20 min walk.
Where to Stay
Given its relatively short distance from Kyoto, you can quite easily do Himeji as day trip or combine it with a longer two day excursion to Hiroshima and back. In case you want to stay at Himeji, budget stay options are available from about ¥ 7000.
What to do
When in Himeji, explore the castle (entry about ¥1000, admission from 9:00 to 17:00) that’s a short walk from the station. Also consider looking at the wonderful Kokoen garden that is right next to Himeji (buy a combination visit ticket costing ¥1040). Visit Mount Shosha (entry about ¥500), which features the temple complex where the Last Samurai was shot.