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

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

‘Garden’ area in front of the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

The Beauty of the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Doesn’t this really look like the Japanese version of the Sleeping Beauty castle :)? Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Panoramic View from Inside the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

The Museum inside the Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Miniature Version of the Shimabara Castle as shown in the museum

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

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 :)

Bodiam Castle is located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, around two hours by car from London. The castle is a great half a day trip from East Sussex‘s beautiful coastal towns, e.g. Hastings, and makes also the perfect stop on a road trip from London down to the beach.

The castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, King of England from 1327 until his death in 1377. The Bodiam Castle is believed to have served as a protection of the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War (1337 – 1453) that was fought over the succession of the French throne.

Bodiam Castle – From the Outside

The castle is a square shaped castle with towers at its corners and entrances. It is surrounded by a large moat which made the castle look much larger than it actually was. The beauty of the castle was also recognised by Irish singer Enya who shows Bodiam Castle in her music video for the song The Celts.

Bodiam Castle – Inner Area

The castle, though appearing complete from the outside, is merely in ruins nowadays. Yet still it is very picturesque with the moat and bridge which makes it is easy to imagine how it was strategic in defending the area.

Bodiam Castle – Interior

Walking through the interior you quickly get an idea of how it must have been to live inside the castle in the 14th century. To help your imagination, some rooms are decorated to resemble the daily life in the Bodiam Castle 600 years ago.

Bodiam Castle – View From the Tower

The castle is around 20 meters high. So don’t forget to climb up to the towers for a beautiful view of the area around the Bodiam Castle.

Nowadays little ducks enjoy living here :)

Tea Room at Bodiam Castle

Just before you cross the bridge to Bodiam Castle, there is also a little tea room and a restaurant to have Afternoon Tea or some snacks. And did you know, you can also tie the knot at Bodiam Castle. Wedding ceremonies can be held in the castle gatehouse with the reception in the Terrace Room near the river or in a marquee. For more info, check the National Trust wedding website here.

Bodiam Castle is a lovely candidate for a day trip in East Sussex. Just come by around early afternoon and take your time to explore the castle and enjoy the beautiful green surroundings (such a nice change from London!). Then have some Afternoon Tea before heading to your next destination. For more things to do in East Sussex, have a look here and for more things to do in the UK, visit this one.

Why you should visit the Bodiam Castle in East Sussex | Castles in the UK