Himeji is widely considered as Japan’s most spectacular castle. This attraction should be on everyone’s itinerary and can easily be done as a day trip from Kyoto. Also known as the White Heron Castle, the beauty of this national treasure is unparalleled. My time spent in Himeji was awesome and a highlight of my trip through Japan.
Getting to Himeji Castle from Kyoto is extremely simple. You have two options with the bullet train: a direct route or a transfer from Osaka. I recommend reserving a seat on the Shinkansen a couple days in advance. The ride is approximately 45-minutes and a great experience in itself. Upon arriving at Himeji Station, find your way to the exit and you should be able to see the castle, making the 15-minute walk very “straightforward”.
The entrance fee to Himeji Castle is 1000 yen. Visitors also have the option to pay an additional 40 yen for access to the nearby Kokoen Garden. It’s recommended that you buy the latter, as it is cheaper than purchasing each ticket separately. I consider this to be the best 40 yen I spent while in Japan!Photographers will absolutely love Himeji Castle. The elevation makes for perfect composition, as the building is held high above surrounding gardens and trees. A black and white exterior create beautiful contrast that yields awe-inspiring pictures. In addition, the vast grounds offer numerous vantage points to shoot from. The fortifications are quite complex, with a series of winding paths and walls. After finding your way to the castle, guests have the option of climbing tiny staircases to the top. It’s a worthwhile experience and the view over Himeji is incredible. However, this should only be attempted by people of moderate fitness and above. The staircases are extremely steep and small. In addition, there are hundreds of people trying to scale the castle at the same time, it’s a wonder how more people don’t get hurt.
A good thing to remember is you have the option of entering the castle with socks. Otherwise, guests must use slippers provided at the entrance. This footwear has been used by countless tourists and does not fit most people properly. A couple times, my slippers fell off and went tumbling down flights of stairs.
Himeji Castle Photo Gallery:
(continue for more information on Kokoen Garden)
A 10-minute walk west of Himeji Castle is the beautiful Kokoen Garden. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this 40 yen expenditure. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of plants and tranquility of Kokoen. It was a breath of fresh air after the crowds of Himeji Castle, I had the whole garden to myself.Make sure to save some memory on your camera, I literally took hundreds of pictures with Himeji Castle and had to use a second card for Kokoen Garden. Photographers will love a wide array of flowers and the incredible stepping stones that wind their way through the pond. Last but certainly not least, the koi that inhabit Kokoen light up the water with vibrant orange and red. I certainly got my money’s worth with this visit!
Kokoen Photo Gallery:
My day trip to Himeji was awesome. It was one of my favourite experience while travelling Japan and it will be one of yours too! I can easily see why Himeji is so highly regarded and the beautiful Kokoen Garden was a welcome surprise.
Thank you for reading, be sure to read my Japan Travel Guide and Kyoto City Guide.