Image of: Himeji castle, view from below

Himeji Castle – An Inspiration to Architecture in Japan

This post was last updated on June 9th, 2020 at 07:34 pm

Himeji is a small city between Osaka and Okayama and houses the most beautiful and impressive castle in Japan; the Himeji Castle. The castle is a huge and spectacular building from the 14th century and is also called “Hakurojō” or “Shirasagijō” which means White Heron Castle. This is due to the white walls. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings from the Sengoku period and, therefore, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993.


Himeji Castle, an Impressive Piece of Architecture

Together with Kumamoto Castle and Matsumoto Castle, these are the three best-known castles in Japan. The construction of the castle began in the Nanboku-cho and lasted until the Muromachi period. Back then its name was Himeyama Castle.


In the following centuries, the castle was expanded or renovated by various warlords.


TIP – The admission price is 1,000 Yen p.p. (about $9).


Between 1601 and 1609, Ikeda renovated the castle to the form in which we can admire it today. The last changes to the castle date from 1618.


Like many cultural places in Japan, Himeji Castle was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Although the area was destroyed, miraculously enough, the castle remained intact.


Image of: Pathway to Himeji castle
It’s an impressive sight when you walk up to Himeji Castle


Many castles in Japan were built based on the Himeji Castle, and if you are lucky enough to visit this castle you will understand why. The shape, the colors, and certainly also the surroundings are not only incredibly beautiful but also inspiring!


What also makes the castle special is a clever tactic to keep the enemies at bay. From the outer walls to the central fort there is a famous maze that was meant to mislead enemies.


Given that the castle can still be admired today, this must have been a successful tactic!


Image of: Kokoen Garden in autumn
We highly recommend walking in the beautiful Koko-en garden!


The Best Time to Visit Himeji Castle

The best time to visit Himeji Castle is in the spring or autumn when the leaves around the castle get beautiful colors. The photos actually speak for themselves. In the city of Himeji, there is not much to do besides admiring the beautiful castle and various gardens.


However, the inhabitants are very friendly and the food is very tasty! Most tourists opt for a day trip from Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe. All of these cities offer more than enough tours. The Castle is an absolute must during your visit to Japan.


TIP – With a Japan Rail Pass you can reach Himeji within an hour from Kyoto. That will cost you 4,770 yen (about $40).


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