The Majestic Himeji Castle, Japan

Though I had planned an overnight visit to Hiroshima, I hadn't planned a stop between Osaka and Hiroshima. On the evening I was heading to Hiroshima, FB friend Tanvi Lehru suggested visiting Himeji Castle. I checked and found that it is on my way and just a km far from Himeji Bullet train station. Thus I made slight adjustment to stop at Himeji while returning from Hiroshima and explore the famous castle there. Himeji castle is Japan's first UNESCO World Heritage site and most visited castle.

I took the 6.50 bullet train from Hiroshima and got down at Himeji station at around 8.40 AM. When I checked on map, Himeji castle was about 1 km from the station, so started walking. Grabbed some bananas, cakes and coffee from a store on the way.

As I walked closer to the castle, the white building was very inviting. Walked further to the entrance, had to buy a 1000 Yen ticket. Himeji castle opens at 9 AM so my entry time was just perfect. The sky was cloudy and I was guided to the main castle. We started with narrow pathways, had to remove our shoes and carry it in a cover provided and begin our exploration of the castle. I had a bag on my back, camera in one hand and the shoe bag in another- not very convenient way to move around the space constrained spaces inside the multi story castle, but it was doable and fun.

At each floor we would see the exhibits on display, watch through the windows and move up to next level. There were multiple displays of the Himeji Castle's layout. Apart from the core zone, rest all have become residential and commercial establishments now.

The Himeji castle is spread around 6 floors. Space gets narrower as we climb up each level. Visitors are allowed to visit all the levels.

Lots of original woodwork still remains inside Himeji castle. The Himeji castle is built in 14th century but over time was modified/enhanced by its successive owners. Last major modification was done in early 17th century, after which nothing much has changed at Himeji Castle. Himeji castle has survived several earthquakes and world wars over centuries. A firebomb was dropped exactly on top of the castle to destroy it but apparently the bomb didn't explode. Sometime in 1871 someone bought the castle and wanted to level it down and use the land for something else, but since the cost of demolishing the castle proved to be very high, it was left as is. One lucky castle it is. Check complete details on Wikipedia here.

As I climbed through the levels of Himeji castle, the primary attraction was the wooden interiors and the view outside. The exhibits were fine, nothing super exciting.




Top most floor has a small worshiping area.

As I came out, clicked below photos of the castle structure.









Cherry blossom season was in its final phase when I visited.

There was a second building to visit. This looked more like a staff quarters. This building also had lots of exhibits on, explaining the history. The Himeji castle also had an escape path (bottom right)
 View of Himeji city from the castle windows

Himeji Heritage bus-if you wish to try some royal ride 
 These two little fellows were guarding the exit
 View of the road to Himeji station from the castle was very photogenic...
Himeji castle is very fortunate to survive several disasters- man made or otherwise. Overall the diversion to the Himeji castle was totally worth it. Do visit this lucky and majestic castle when in Japan.

21 comments:

  1. Nice place to visit and beautiful pictures!

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  2. Thank you for the lovely virtual tour!

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  3. Wow !! Really Beautiful place . Kirei desu ne

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  4. Superb, Shrinidhi! Such a beautiful place---even more beautiful thanks to your as-usual stunning photography! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Culture of Japan is really attractive and the castle which is an example of architectural giant in Japan attracts me a lot

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