Have you ever wondered how Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle would have looked like if the story were set in Japan? Most likely like the Himeji Castle!
The Himeji Castle is also known as White Heron Castle due to its beautiful white colour and is considered as one of Japan’s most beautiful and impressive castles. It is also the larget and most visited castle in all of Japan. The Himeji castle’s history dates back to 1333 and, unlike many other castles in Japan, was never destroyed by war or natural disasters. It is the finest surviving example of historical Japanese castle architecture and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1993.
The Himeji Castle developed from a fort built on the top of the Himeyama hill in 1333 into the Himeyama Castle in 1346 which was then remodeled into the Himeji Castle two centuries later. A three-story castle keep was added to the Himeji Castle in 1581 and between 1601 and 1609 the castle was completely rebuilt into large castle complex. The Himeji Castle developed today’s ‘look’ in 1618 after a final addition of several buildings to the castle.
Entrance gate to the outside area of the Himeji Castle
‘Garden’ area in front of the Himeji Castle
The Beauty of the Himeji Castle
Panoramic View from Inside the Himeji Castle
The Museum inside the Castle
Miniature Version of the Shimabara Castle as shown in the museum
How to get to the Himeji Castle?
The castle can easily be reached by train from Kyoto and Osaka and is located a 20 min walk from the Himeji train station.
We visited the Himeji Castle after having spent a few days in Kyoto exploring the city’s beautiful temples. So the Himeji Castle makes a perfect day trip once you have discovered all temples in Kyoto or simply are not in the mood for visiting another one :)