Visiting (the new-and-improved) Himeji Castle

Back in May this year, a few friends and I went to visit the renovated Himeji Castle, which had re-opened in March to cherry blossoms and great media coverage. We had hoped delaying our visit would help thin out the tourist crowds, but it was still very busy on the day we went.

The walls of the "White Egret" Castle

The walls of the “White Egret” Castle

Himeji-jo is one of the most recognizable cultural treasures of Japan (and is, of course, a UNESCO site as well). The castle is famed for its white facade, which makes a grand visual impact on sunny days. The castle complex is the biggest of all the ones I’ve visited so far, and there was a fair bit of walking and going up and down stairs along the way. The true beauty of Himeji is very subtle (it’s all in the details) — to the casual visitor, it’s not noticeable unless you visit a few other castles first and then go to Himeji.

(Click an image if you want to see it in slideshow-view, with comments  ↓ )

At the time that we went, there was a limit on the number of daily visitors, so I would suggest going there early to avoid disappointment (and some of the crowds)! There are plenty of English signs around Himeji Station, and the castle is visible almost immediately after you exit and follow the curve of the main road.

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Cheers to a memorable day!

Cheers to a memorable day!

In the end, I’m glad we were in Japan together just in time to visit Himeji after its 5-year-long renovation (my friends have since returned to their respective home countries). One more thing crossed off my bucket list, hooray!

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