Hmeji is home to the most spectacular castle in Japan, and although we only spent a day here to explore the castle we thought it warranted it own page to bring gravity to its splendour. Unfortunately you wont find too much on this page but we hope that it ensures a day trip to Himeji Castle is written down in permanent marker on your itinerary.
For the majority of tourists, visiting Himeji is solely done to experience the amazing castle. Whilst I’m sure there are a handful of other things there to keep you busy, this is the reason thousands flock here everyday.
The castle has to be the most spectacular in all of Japan. It’s sheer size is very impressive, it spans over 7 story’s and much of the original features have been maintained. Upon entrance you have to remove your shoes, in keeping with Japanese customs, and then you’re free to explore 6 of the floors at your own pace.
The armoury areas are particularly fascinating, rows upon rows of sword holds line the walls and it’s easy to envisage how these would have been used in battle. Likewise, the walls are kept in keep with the original and show how lose rocks were lodged in between larger stones for easy reach during an attack.
You could spend any where between 2 and 4 hours taking in all of the castles grounds so make sure you arrive early as it shuts at 4pm.
There are a number of hotels close to the castle but we would advise booking early. Our tendency to book last minute back fired here and all we could get was a love hotel 30mins away! You can quite easily explore the castle in one day though so a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto would be advisable.
The walk from Himeji station to the castle is lined with a number of Japanese restaurants. There’s also an abundance of ice cream stands (in the summer at least) selling everything from green wasabi to black charcoal flavours! If you’re after western food you may need to come off the beaten track a little but there’s always a Family Mart or 7-11 for the fussier pallets.
Getting to Himeji from Osaka takes approximately 1 hour by train, while the trip from Kyoto is about 1.5 hours. Train fares are unlikely to cost you more than £10 return so this is your best mode of transportation. Whilst in Himeji you can get around via the local train service or bus but it’s a small place and most of the central area can be visited by foot.