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This is a castle that represents Japan and was built in 1346. Registered as a World Heritage Site in 1993, it is a masterpiece of wooden architecture that is selected as a national treasure and is also one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. Not only is it one of Japan's top 100 famous castles but many of the buildings on its premises are selected as national treasures and important cultural properties. Its appearance has changed over the years, as generations of the castle's lords have repeated renovations and repairs. It is also known as the castle that genius military strategist Kuroda Kanbei appointed to Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) to make the base of his battles.
- 68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo
- Contact No.
- 20-min walk from JR Himeji Station
- Opening Hours / Holidays
Closed: Dec 29, 30
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 2.5 hours
- Admission fee
- Adults (over 18) 1,000 yen, children (elementary, middle and high school) 300 yen
- Other Information
- *Wi-fi available *Brochures available in English, Chinese and Korean
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Daitenshu (Great Castle Tower)
The tallest building of Himeji Castle, its castle tower (tenshukaku), is the tallest in Japan and is so impressive that it is called Daitenshu (great castle tower). Apart from the beautiful, white exterior walls, the work put into the designs and shapes along the roof eaves and details of the latticework are also a must-see.
Inside the Castle
Visitors can go around and look at the interior of the seven floors from the first underground to the sixth floor. You will see many aspects designed for battle, such as windows made for shooting arrows and guns through them, and entrances that get narrower as they approach the main area, so that soldiers can't get in all at once. There are also exhibits that show the everyday life of the princess.
View from the Top Floor
All of the town under Himeji Castle can be seen from the top floor. On a sunny day, you can even see the Seto Inland Sea in the distance, and underneath there is the beautiful Himeji Castle Park with beautiful green vegetation. At the back, you can see overlapping mountain tops. On the west side, there is the mountain, on which Tenmangu is located, where the princess went to pray every day. Especially recommended is the cherry blossom season.
This shrine on the top floor is the protective deity of the castle. It is a rare shrine that is supposedly the only one that is located inside a castle. The shrine has many legends, but due to the fact that Himeji Castle miraculously survived the air attacks, it is mostly worshiped as the "god of disaster" protecting against fire and other damages.
The garden located on the south-east side and landscaped around Himeji Castle has an area of around 3.3 hectares. It is comprised of nine different gardens that include waterfalls, ponds and authentic tea houses. It has walls and gates that leave traces of the Edo period, and passages that create a historic landscape that suits their status as a special historic site. The location has also been used for shooting historic movies and TV series.
Sakura and Illuminations
Sakura trees blossom all around Himeji Castle in spring and create a very beautiful sight. There are many photo locations inside the castle and illumination lights go on during the night. It is a perfect occasion for a couple or family photo. Himeji Castle looks very dreamy as it glows white in the darkness.
Famous Japanese Horror: Okiku-Ido
At Himeji Castle, there is a well called Okiku-ido (well). It is the well, into which Okiku, a maid that served in the castle, was thrown into and murdered about 450 years ago. It has created a famous Japanese horror legend that since then every night, we can hear Okiku's voice counting plates. The well is about 10 meters deep and gives you shivers just by looking down.
Himeji City Zoo
The zoo is located next to the plaza of Himeji Castle. The zoo keeps about 400 animals of 120 kinds including big animals like elephants and giraffes. There is also an attraction park and coin-operated rides, which makes it a zoo with a nostalgic atmosphere.