I don’t normally take blog title inspiration from Ed Sheeran lyrics, but Castle On The Hill perfectly describes the first sighting of Himeji Castle from the bustling train station. As soon as you walk out of the station entrance boom it’s there. Sitting perched atop a hill at the end of the long, wide, road sits the winged white castle and its imposing moat.
Once you cross through the walls, the imposing size of the castle becomes more apparent. Having survived the wars, Himeji is one of only a dozen original Japanese castles and first opened in the 1400s. The Himeji Castle you see today was built in 1609. The complex is massive and comprised of almost one hundred buildings interconnected by paths, stairs, walls, and gardens.
Entry is usually through Otemon Gate which opens out onto a large lawn. The beautiful tree-lined lawn provides a lovely foreground to see the main keep in all its glory. After you purchase your entry ticket, you can wander through a rabbit warren of paths and steps into the main keep.
The main keep is a six storey building made of beautiful timber. You begin at the bottom floor and work your way up via a series of narrow wooden staircases. The further up you get, the more beautiful the view over the sprawling city of Himeji.
Admiring Himeji Castle from the lawn after Otemon Gate
One of only 12 original castles in Japan, Himeji Castle is well-preserved
It takes a walk through many labyrinthine paths and steps to reach the main keep
The Himeji Castle complex is extensive with over 80 buildings
The winged design of Himeji Castle is elegant yet imposing
The main keep is made up of beautiful wooden interiors
In any season, Himeji is a beautiful castle to visit in Japan
The further up you climb in the main keep, the better the view over the Himeji Castle complex and Himeji city
At six storeys tall and atop a large hill, Himeji castle makes its mark
The outside of the complex is surrounded by a moat and gardens
The gardens are perfectly manicured and a peaceful place to visit
The garden’s ponds are full of colourful fish
THE NEED-TO-KNOW DETAILS
Cost: 1000 yen
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
Nearest Train Station: Himeji
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