What do you think of when you picture a castle? In Japan, the image of a castle is quite a distinctive one. Castles, though built to protect nobility and defend them against enemies, still have a certain beautiful quality. Himeji Castle in Hyogo prefecture is the largest of these castles in Japan. It has so many intriguing structures and beautiful views that in 1993 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with several of its buildings considered to be National Treasures.
Himeji Castle is particularly special in that it offers spectacular views from all angles. If you can’t see the castle up close, there are plenty of points within the city of Himeji to enjoy the beauty of this pristine, white castle!
It’s probably true that when you exit a train station, you aren’t exactly expecting to see something fantastic ahead of you. Maybe there will be some shopping malls, people walking, cars on the road and other everyday sights. However, if you walk out of the North Exit of the station, you will see Himeji Castle perfectly in the distance! It’s quite a beautiful image amidst all of the modern construction, and of course, you can gradually get closer to the castle as you walk down the street.
If you can read kanji, you can probably figure out that 城見台 (shiromidai) has both ‘castle’ and ‘see/view’ in its name. That’s quite the clue for what you can view from this park in Himeji. Much of the park surrounds the castle grounds, so you can see the main tower of the castle stands out quite a bit, with its clean white walls shining over the top of the green trees.
If you are more in the mood for the city instead of the park, you can take a walk to the Himeji City Museum of Art. Not only is the building impressive in itself, but if you stand at a distance, it appears as if the main tower of Himeji Castle is sitting right on top of the museum! Of course, after you’ve taken your photos of the castle, you can enjoy the art exhibits.
This mountain that stands at 57.3 meters high has many things to see! There are three shrines, and a park to enjoy at the summit. From the park, you get the perfect view of Himeji Castle. Not only the main tower but peeking out from above the trees you can see some of the smaller buildings on the castle grounds. The view from Otokoyama is particularly stunning at sunrise or sunset!
This view of the castle might be the most impressive. While the main tower is gorgeous up close, you can see much more of the elaborate castle complex from a place called Egret Himeji. A modern building used mostly for business, it boasts the use of its roof for the perfect view of the castle. Egret Himeji is at a greater distance from the castle than most of the other viewing points, so on a clear day you can get that perfect shot of Himeji Castle’s intricate complex in its entirety!
A trip to Himeji Castle is worth it, of course, but why not make a day of catching some of the best views and enjoying the city before you go inside?
Himeji Castle Website*Available in Multiple Languages