One of the most famous castles in Japan, Himeji Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in all of Japan. Its white figure looms over the otherwise normal town of Himeji, bringing in tourists from all across the world to marvel at its splendor.
Himeji Castle is a war-time castle. While other castles, like Nagoya Castle or Karatsu Castle, have been retrofitted into museums, Himeji Castle remains ready for battle, allowing visitors to travel through and see a castle as it would have been in feudal Japan. You can scale the building and see hidden rooms for sneak attacks, rock-throwing platforms, and the lord’s last stand, also known as the highest floor in the castle, which has now been converted into one of the most well-protected shrines in all of Japan.
The History of Himeji
The castle grounds hold a treasure trove of museums, artifacts, and stories of history from the castle, tucked away neatly within the exterior walls that run along the perimeter of the castle. There are a multitude of artifacts, from samurai ledgers to construction pieces, scattered across the multiple narrow rooms you can explore in the outer walls. There are several points of entry and exit, and given the sheer size of the grounds, you could spend quite a bit of time exploring the museum aspect before even setting foot in the castle proper.
Himeji is a bit of a hike out in Hyogo; your best bet is to start in Osaka and take a train out to Himeji Station, where you can board a number of buses that will take you up the main road and deposit you just outside the moats of the castle. The entrance fee is small and worth every yen you put down. It’s a massive piece of history that’s great for anyone looking to take in a bit of Japan’s history and war culture.