AsiaJapanHimeji

Himeji, a Japanese national treasure, an impressive castle

Himeji Travel Blog

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The main castle
This is another example of how my trip was influenced by a travbuddy blog! I saw it and wanted to visit the castle, I didn't even know they had castles in Japan before... Since Himeji is on the way from Hiroshima to Kyoto, we had mapped it out and to make a stop in Himeji for the day before continuing to Kyoto, instead of going to Kyoto first, then make a day trip back to Himeji.

In Japan, it seemed all the train stations have lockers of various sizes so it was convenient to put our luggege in the lockers and then be free to walk around Himeji.
Decorative design on a fire hydrant (cover)
The castle was only a short walk from the train station, really easy to make the trip. Basically we could see it in the distance on a bluff and it was straight down the main street in front of the train station, we couldn't get lost!

We took a leisurely walk toward the castle because I had planned to spend about 6 hours here. If you had less time, it would be not as leisurely but still doable, but we were glad to have this much time.

There was a shopping area with lots of interesting looking stores right across from the castle, and we decided to pay them a visit on the way back. The castle was real impressive looking even from a distance. There was a moat and a bridge took us over to the big gate which was the main entrance to the castle area. It was like a park with a lot of land surrounding the castle and its inner walls and baileys.
Another fire hydrant cover
There was a garden between the outer wall and the inner gate, I suppose it would have been real pretty if the peonies were blooming, but it was too early in the season, so we kept walking toward the inner gate where you buy the tickets.

Himeji castle dating back to the 14th century is the grandest of 12 remaining feudal castles left in Japan, and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Its white walls and graceful rooflines are its signature looks. The inner walls of the castle formed several irregular baileys. The labryinths of gates and passageways were meant to confuse enemies in case they broken in, but was never put to the test. On top of the west baily walls were living quarters for the soldiers, maids for the castle etc, but also included a vanity tower at its corner for a princess! The main tower  contained 6 floors and a basement.
Beautiful kimono on display in Himeji
where armaments were stored. The tower had been restored to its splendor, the floors were shiny wood and visitors had to remove their shoes to enter. Some floors had displays of paintings and artifacts from the shogun days. On display were also a model of the main tower used by the restorers, all made of wood.

The charm of the castle was not just in the main tower, which was quite a sight from any angle, but walking the grounds through the various baileys and gates and passageways were part of the experience.

After climbing all the way to the top and had a look around, we left the main tower and visited the so called Suicide Quarter, where supposedly was the place to commit ritual suicide. But again, it was never known to actually have been used for that purpose.

We left the castle ground, and went around the outside to a very nice Japanese garden. It was actually a great garden with many sub-gardens, each with its own theme. There were ponds, waterfalls, running streams, tea garden, flowering cherry blossoms and other flowers. Very pretty and relaxing to walk around.

On the way back to the train station, we stopped to visit the shops across from the castle. They had food samples for all the goodies, and we had some very tasty seaweeds (almost tasted like jerky).

We retrieved our luggage from the lockers and got back on the train for Kyoto, which was only less than 1 hour away.


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The main castle
The main castle
Decorative design on a fire hydran…
Decorative design on a fire hydra…
Another fire hydrant cover
Another fire hydrant cover
Beautiful kimono on display in Him…
Beautiful kimono on display in Hi…
Beautiful kimono on display in Him…
Beautiful kimono on display in Hi…
The Himeji Castle in the distance,…
The Himeji Castle in the distance…
toward the big gate over the moat
toward the big gate over the moat
Kevin pets a red husky being walke…
Kevin pets a red husky being walk…
kevin waits at the big gate to Him…
kevin waits at the big gate to Hi…
detail of the big gate
detail of the big gate
kevin and I in front of the castle
kevin and I in front of the castle
the Himeji castle main
the Himeji castle main
peonies were not yet ready for spr…
peonies were not yet ready for sp…
a corner of the castle wall
a corner of the castle wall
seeing the castle from different a…
seeing the castle from different …
map of the castle area
map of the castle area
the inner gate to the castle area
the inner gate to the castle area
sign describing the gate and point…
sign describing the gate and poin…
detail of the inner gate
detail of the inner gate
view next to the inner gate
view next to the inner gate
main castle in the distance
main castle in the distance
the carved nail cover on the gate
the carved nail cover on the gate
walls with interesting windows, sq…
walls with interesting windows, s…
another interesting door in the ca…
another interesting door in the c…
kevin and another big door!
kevin and another big door!
map showing the castle, moat and i…
map showing the castle, moat and …
interesting roof and architecture
interesting roof and architecture
one of those small windows in the …
one of those small windows in the…
inside the inner wall of the castle
inside the inner wall of the castle
the main castle dominates the view
the main castle dominates the view
nice roofs and designs on them
nice roofs and designs on them
taking off shoes to go inside the …
taking off shoes to go inside the…
entrance to West Bailey
entrance to West Bailey
opening on the floor of the baily …
opening on the floor of the baily…
the baily is a long row of rooms a…
the baily is a long row of rooms …
one of the windows facing the outs…
one of the windows facing the out…
steep stairs in the bailey
steep stairs in the bailey
nice corridors in the west bailey
nice corridors in the west bailey
view into the inner castle grounds
view into the inner castle grounds
map showing where we were in the b…
map showing where we were in the …
this is the corner of the west bai…
this is the corner of the west ba…
description of the princess who li…
description of the princess who l…
inside a corner of the wall, the 3…
inside a corner of the wall, the …
Looking back at the princesses re…
Looking back at the princesses' r…
the fan shaped wall
the fan shaped wall
a corner of the wall at the castle
a corner of the wall at the castle
a gateway leading more into the ca…
a gateway leading more into the c…
roof tiles were used as a drainage…
roof tiles were used as a drainag…
a sign showing that a mill rock wa…
a sign showing that a mill rock w…
a walkway along the way inside the…
a walkway along the way inside th…
fish design on the roof is everywh…
fish design on the roof is everyw…
wall of the castle, lots of rocks
wall of the castle, lots of rocks
these roof tiles had designs from …
these roof tiles had designs from…
another gate
another gate
getting closer to the main castle
getting closer to the main castle
a special wall
a special wall
a sign describing how an old lady …
a sign describing how an old lady…
the basket protects the old ladys…
the basket protects the old lady'…
the different tile designs are des…
the different tile designs are de…
you can see many designs everywher…
you can see many designs everywhe…
a collection of the different tile…
a collection of the different til…
another interesting drainage are u…
another interesting drainage are …
a well
a well
view of the main tower, 5 stories …
view of the main tower, 5 stories…
a small window at the main tower
a small window at the main tower
a heavy door at the main tower
a heavy door at the main tower
the basement of the main tower, …
the "basement" of the main tower,…
basement, main tower
basement, main tower
going up
going up
1st floor
1st floor
2nd floor
2nd floor
3rd floor
3rd floor
fourth floor
fourth floor
view from the top/fifth floor towa…
view from the top/fifth floor tow…
the top floor, with a small shrine
the top floor, with a small shrine
the suicide quarter, but no known …
the suicide quarter, but no known…
a secret passage built into the wa…
a secret passage built into the w…
you can stamp your places visited …
you can stamp your places visited…
Himeji
photo by: tj1777