Visiting the Himeji castle

Himeji castle as seen from the outside of the walls.

I had to spend some time at Himeji during one of my work days which gave me a chance to visit the Himeji castle. I was also lucky enough to have really good weather during that day! The Himeji castle in Hyoogo prefecture is one of the world heritage buildings which also luckily survived the bombings of the World War II. The castle was recently renovated over several years and was fully re-opened to the public in March 2015.

Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defence and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.

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The Himeji castle seen from one of the many gardens around it.

The whole castle area is huge and you can easily spend couple of hours walking around, reading about the history and looking at all kinds of things. Inside and outside of the castle you can find many information boards telling you about the castle’s history and its residents from the very beginning to today. During weekdays there are not many visitors, so you can walk around in peace and take your time enjoying everything.

The Himeji castle seen from the main yard.

The white plaster over the walls gives the building really beautiful look which also has a sense of royalty in it. For me the Himeji castle with its surroundings is so far the best looking castle I’ve seen in Japan!

A view from inside of the Himeji castle at 5th floor.

You have great views to the whole Himeji area from the top floors of the castle. The castle is really easy to access from the Himeji station as you can already see it when you exit from the station. The Himeji station can be seen at the end of the street in the picture above!

Wooden miniature of the main structure of the Himeji castle

The castle is almost in the “original” condition, only security cameras and the sprinkler system are there to remind you about outside world. You can also find some displays inside the castle showing the special roof pieces each ruling emperor had and other stuff like the miniature of the wooden structure.

You can reach the Himeji station from Osaka station in about 1 hour so I definitely recommend visiting the castle to everyone living in Osaka prefecture!

That’s all for this time!

-Risto

 

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