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Castle of Himeji

Himeji Travel Blog

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Himeji:

A day trip to Himeji was an easy thing to do when you have a JR Pass. Only 60 minutes away from downtown Osaka, I took the shinkansen from Shin-Osaka that cut the travel time by half --- 30 minutes!

The city of Himeji, an impressive castle town, is where the famous and best preserved feudal Japanese castle of Himeji is located. The town itself is rather sedate. Activity is felt but still at a more sedate pace.

It was easy to locate the castle from the JR station. I stopped by the information office to take a city map and continued on my walk to the castle that took 20 minutes. All I did was walk straight along the wide Otemae-dori, and you cannot missed it.

Himeji:

The impressive castle, is nicknamed 'white heron' due to its white walls made of plaster for its fireproof and reinforcement capabilities. Himeji Castle is preserved from its original form made of wood interiors, escaped the tragedies of most castles in Japan from wars, fires, and earthquakes.

Entering the castle walls, the castle sits atop grandly on a hill called Himeyama. I found it to be a very photogenic castle at every angle I took pictures of it. I paid the 600 yen to pay for the entrance into the castle grounds and the interior of the castle. It was a maze trying to get to the castle with the walls often have marks and are still original (or at least more than 150 years old).

The detailed imprints of family insignia on roof tiles gives clues to each feudal family who has lived and ruled in Himeji.

Himeji:

Upon entering the castle, you are asked to remove your shoes and is provided with a plastic bag to place your shoes and slippers to wear inside the castle. This is to protect the interior wooden floor of the castle. The castle is impressive with its wooden walls - all original. Spacious and an open floor plan, large wooden columns shows the main support system of the castle. The stairs to reach each floor to the observation level were narrow and often require to be vigilant as to avoid hitting one's head from large beams of wood. It is quite easy to imagine how the castle is decorated during the feudal times. But now, the castle is a museum with a large collection of katanas, samurai armor, and historical items that is feudal Japan.

The observation level housed a kind of small temple and from its windows, you can see the town of Himeji.

Himeji:
A town map is available in the castle that shows how the city is laid out from the castle at the center, the castle grounds to walls and the town limits. It was an impressive view as you can also see the shinkansen tracks from the castle and the bullet train speeds through the town.

After pictures were taken, I went out the castle grounds and around to see the castle in different angles. The city streets have numerous sculptures that lined the broad streets.

On my walk back to the train station to return to Osaka, I stopped at several shops to see what they have as each city/town in Japan have their own food specialty and I'm always up for food! Besides, it was past lunch time already!

saltycoco says:
I actually wanted to visit Himeji, but when I read the whole castle was covered in scaffolding for restoration, i was like wtf. :)
Posted on: Sep 13, 2010
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photo by: tj1777