“UNESCO World heritage castle”

Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle, is a magnificent and well-preserved castle in Japan renowned for its grandeur and pristine castle grounds. Standing proudly as a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Himeji Castle has never succumbed to war, earthquakes, or fires, making it one of Japan's twelve original castles.

Located strategically along the western route to Kyoto, Himeji Castle's origins trace back to the 1400s, with subsequent expansions and renovations carried out by ruling clans over the centuries. The castle complex, completed in 1609, consists of over eighty buildings spread across multiple courtyards, connected by gates and meandering paths.

Approaching the main keep, visitors navigate a labyrinthine arrangement of walls, gates, and baileys designed to deter and expose potential attackers. At the center of the complex, the main keep stands tall—a six-story wooden structure adorned with wing buildings, adding to its architectural complexity.

Inside the main keep, visitors ascend steep, narrow staircases, exploring progressively smaller levels. Although sparsely furnished, each floor provides informative signs explaining unique features like portholes, rock chutes, concealed spaces, and the ongoing preservation efforts.

The topmost floor houses a small shrine and offers panoramic views of Himeji, allowing visitors to appreciate the intricate fish-shaped roof ornaments believed to ward off fires.After leaving the keep, visitors can return to the entrance gate or venture to the west bailey (Nishinomaru), once a princess's residence. Here, a long building with unfurnished rooms invites exploration while providing a different perspective of the main keep.

During the cherry blossom season in early April, Himeji Castle transforms into a popular spot, attracting crowds eager to witness the fleeting beauty of the blossoms. However, busy periods such as Golden Week and summer holidays may result in longer waiting times to enter the main keep, with visitor numbers potentially restricted through numbered tickets.

Himeji castle admission and hour 

  • Open 9:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 from late July to late August).
  • Admission 1000 yen (castle only),1050 yen (castle and nearby Kokoen Garden).

How to get there

Himeji Castle stands about one kilometer down the broad Otemae-dori Street from Himeji Station. The castle can be reached from the station's north exit in a 15-20 minute walk or five minute ride by bus (100 yen one way) or taxi (about 750 yen one way).


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