We don’t know anyone that has been to Japan and doesn’t want to go back at some point. Japan is an amazing country and, although we are happy about the trip that we did in 2015, we know that someday we will return to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Tokyo, Kyoto and Miyajima are in the beaten track, but there are some other destinations that surely deserve a visit. An example of this is the city of Himeji, which has one of the most beautiful castles we’ve ever seen. Of course we love European medieval castles, but the Himeji Castle was something totally new for us. We felt as a Samurai when we saw it.
Himeji can be easily reached from Osaka in less than one hour by train, so why don’t you keep reading and add Himeji to your bucket list? 🙂
We got up in our hotel in Osaka, which was next to the Shin-Osaka train station. From there, we took the bullet train towards Himeji, where we arrived early in the morning. Getting to the castle is quite easy, because you only need to follow the main road.
The Himeji Castle is the most visited one in Japan. Located in a hill, the castle is a perfect example of the typical Japanese architecture. Built in the feudal period, the castle is a sophisticated complex with a great defensive system. It is often known as the White Egret Castle due to the white color of its façade and its resemblance to a bird taking flight. The fact is that when we were in the square right in front of the castle we couldn’t stop staring at its beauty and magnificence.
The castle comes from a fort built on 1333 and has been remodeled from time to time, specially at the beginning of the Edo period by Ikeda Terumasa, a samurai who received the castle as a gift for his help in the Battle of Sekigahara. He rebuilt the castle between 1601 and 1609 and expanded it into the amazing complex that we can enjoy today. Fortunately, the castle survived the bombing of Himeji in the World War II.
The Himeji Castle was recently under restoration work and reopened on March 27, 2015. Luckily, we visited Japan in August 2015 so we could enjoy of the castle immediately after its reopening. Thanks to the restoration work, the castle recovered its splendor and continues astonishing visitors from all over the world. It’s not without a reason that the Himeji Castle was registered in 1993 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors can of course enter the castle (you’ll find the relevant tourist information here). Inside the Himeji Castle you’ll find an amazing structure made from wood. Although the floors are mainly unfurnished, visitors can climb upwards while learning about its history and architecture.
After our visit, we had lunch in one of those Japanese fast food restaurants where you order your meal through a machine. It was quite frequented by local people and that’s always a sign that we’ve made a good selection! Later, we went back to the Himeji station. Our next destination: Tokyo.