Himeji Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98
  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98
  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98

Most Recent Things to Do in Himeji

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Side Trip to Kobe

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 18, 2014

    During a recent trip between Tokyo and Hiroshima, we spent an afternoon on Himeji, then stopped at Kobe for the night before returning to Yokohama and Tokyo. We stayed at Hyogo Station, then spent a few hours wandering about Chinatown and Sannomiya areas the next morning before continuing on our journey.

    Chinatown, located just south of Motomachi Station, is one of Kobe's more interesting sites. One of only three official Chinatowns in Japan, this one is a compact four city blocks, with just two main streets that form a cross. The Chinese settled here, on the Western side of the city's foreigners' area, after Japan opened to international trade in 1868.

    Higashi-yuenchi Park is located next to Kobe City Hall, near Sannomiya Station, and next to the foreigners' settlement area. This was originally part of the foreigners settlement, and it was the grounds for many international sports, including Japan's first marathon in 1909. Each year in November and December the annual Luminarie Festival is held in this park to commemorate those lost n the 1995 earthquake which killed over 6,000 people, mostly in Kobe. This area is also home to Flower Road, a uniquely named street lined with flowers, sculptures and Japan's first flower clock.

    Kobe is only about an hour from Himeji by local train.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle's Main Keep

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Dec 17, 2014

    The main keep of Himeji castle, also called the donjon, was one of the first buildings constructed at the modern castle in 1601. The structure, he inner and most well defended part of the castle, was built by Terumasa Ikeda, as an expansion of an earlier 3-story donjon. The massive wooden pillars that support the tower include a beam from an 800-year old cypress, which is said to pass on good luck to those who run their hands over it. The tower is 31.5 meters tall, and it stands on a 14.8 meter base, making it stand 46 meters over the rest of the castle grounds.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Himeji City

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 16, 2014

    The city of Himeji is most well known for its wonderfully preserved castle. The city itself has over 500,000 residents, a major Shinkansen station, and a bustling downtown area between the station and the castle. Other sites in Himeji include Kokoen Gardens, next to the castle, and Mount Shosha, where scenes from the movie, "The Last Samurai" were filmed.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle's West Bailey

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 16, 2014

    The West Bailey, or Nishi-no-Maru, consists of several watchtowers connected by a long corridor, built as a defensive wall to protect the western approaches to the castle. This area was constructed in 1618, about nine years after the other major structures of the castle were completed.

    The West Bailey was constructed by Honda Tadamasa. Tadamasa' son, Honda Tadatoki, married Senhime, a granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is said the Senhime, a well-known figure in Japanese history, lived in this west wing, and dressed herself in the tower known as the Cosmetic Tower or Dressing Tower. The long corridor next to this tower consisted of apartments for the ladies who waited on Senhime.

    The Cosmetic Tower, where Senhime dressed

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Sangoku (Three Province) Moat

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 16, 2014

    The Three Country Moat (三国濠 or Sangoku Moat) is named for the worker that built the moat, who came from three provinces, Harima, Bizen, and Awaji. This moat, inside the castle's walls is really a 2,500 square meter pond, which was used for water to extinguish fires in the mostly wooden structure.

    The moat is next to the Hishi Gate (Diamond Gate), which is the castle's largest gate.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Himeji's Central Moat

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 16, 2014

    Himeji Castle originally had three moats, but the outermost moat is now covered by the city. Much of the the central and the inner moats remain to this present day. The central moat averages about 20 meters wide and has a maximum depth of less than 3 meters.

    Visitors can cross the central moat into the castle gates to a large open public park prior to entering the fee-for-entry castle grounds.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle Overview

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Dec 16, 2014

    Himeji Castle was originally constructed in 1581 by Hashiba Hideyoshi, as a three story structure. From 1601 to 1609, Ikeda Terumasa constructed the castle in much the form that remains today. The West Bailey was built in 1618 to reinforce the castle defenses to the west.

    The impressive Main Keep structure stands 31.5 meters, on top of a 14.8 meter base and it is surrounded by an impressive array of walls, gates, moats, and gardens.

    The castle is under construction through early 2015, but the impressive grounds are worth the admission. For 400 Yen per adult and 100 Yen per child, you can explore the grounds and outer buildings. Tickets are sold from 9am to 4pm all year, except summer, when they are available from 9am to 5pm. The castle grounds close one hour after the ticket stand closes.

    We walked into the castle grounds at about 3:55pm, and we were the last people to enter the castle for the day. We explored for about and hour, which was plenty of time since the main keep was closed for construction.

    Was this review helpful?

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle

    by IreneMcKay Updated May 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The main reason to visit Himeji is to see its stunningly beautiful castle. Himeji Castle is one of the best preserved castles in Japan. Himeji is known as a white egret or white heron castle due to its white walls. Himeji is one of the few Japanese castles to survive in something close to its original form. Unlike most Japanese castles, it has never been destroyed in a war, fire or earthquake.

    Himeji Castle was built in 1346 by Akamatsu Sadanori. He wanted it in order to protect himself from local shoguns. Then the emperor, Nobunaga Oda placed Hideyoshi in control of the castle. Hideyoshi reconstructed it and incorporated over 30 turrets into his new design.

    In 1601 Ikeda Terumasa took over Himeji Castle. For nine years he reconstructed the castle using a lot of the materials from Hieyoshi's original castle walls. When this reconstruction was complete, Himeji Castle was very close to its present day form.

    Himeji Castle has a five-storied tenshu, or main keep, and a middle and outer moat. Several families took control of the castle after Terumasa, including the Honda, Okudaira, Matsudaira, Sakakibara, and Sakai.

    In 1931 Himeji Castle was designated a national treasure. Then in 1993 it was put on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Sites.

    Himeji Castle. Himeji Castle. Himeji Castle.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Castle Grounds.

    by IreneMcKay Written May 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It is possible to get very close to Himeji Castle without going inside. It is set in large open grounds which the public can enter free of charge. These grounds are filled with fruit trees and in spring when the cherry blossom is in flower the grounds are stunning. Many people go there with their large blue mats to have picnics and enjoy the cherry blossoms.

    Castle grounds. Castle grounds. Castle grounds.
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rabbityama's Profile Photo

    Engyoji Temple

    by Rabbityama Written Apr 23, 2012

    Engyoji Temple is the name of the large temple complex that sits atop Mount Shosha. It is the 27th temple along the Saigoku 33 Temple Pilgrimage. The complex was built in 966 after the priest Shoku was said to have spoken to Monju (the God of Wisdom) and was told that anyone who ascends this mountain will be spiritually cleansed.

    The experience of Engyoji is similar to that of the temples on the more well-known Mount Hiei and Mount Koya. Although you are visiting one temple, it is comprised of many buildings isolated atop a mountain, so the entire mountain and everything on it is part of the experience which I always enjoy.

    The Daikodo, the main temple building, dates back to the 15th century (major restoration work occurred in 1956 but it remains all-original). It's impressive and you can actually enter the Jikido beside it, which surprisingly houses some impressive Buddhist sculptures on the second floor and offers nice views of the Daikodo.

    The other most famous and impressive building is the Maniden, which had to be rebuilt in 1932. It is raised high in the forest, similar to Kiyomizu Temple, so it's very impressive to view from below. There are a variety of other structures scattered throughout the mountain, most of them dating back to the 17th century or earlier.

    It costs 500 yen. After paying, you can go everywhere. There are no special fees at any of the buildings. If you come from Himeji Station, you can also factor in the combined bus and ropeway tickets to reach the area, which costs 1300 yen round-trip.

    Engyoji's Daikodo Engyoji's Maniden Engyoji's Gohodo View from Maniden Engyoji's Kaizando
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DutchW's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle still well worth a visit

    by DutchW Written Sep 15, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Himeji Castle still well worth a visit

    Himeji castle is under reconstruction until 2014. In summer 2011, visitors could view the extensive grounds and outer parts of the castle at a reduced entrance fee, good enough to go there. The "womens' quarters" give a good impression of the size of the outer castle and tell the romantic (sad) story of 17th century princess Sen.
    Besides, the main keep's restauration works can be viewed from airconditioned[!] temporary rooms, reachable by elevator (additional fee). There is a good (presumably temporary) museum around the restauration works as well, showing information about the castle's history and structure, previous restaurantions and the current one. Much of the information is also available in English.

    Under reconstruction
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Restless-in-kl's Profile Photo

    Exploring Himeji Castle

    by Restless-in-kl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Take your time to explore Himeji Castle. At the entrance, pay US$5.10 for entrance fee per person and make sure you get a leaflet. There's lotsa of interesting info that entails the castle history and architecture.

    Go from section to section so that you don't miss anything out. Pace yourself and drink loads of water as castle grounds is huge and there are many stairs to climb!

    Inside the tower, it's all wood floors. You'll need to remove your shoes (and your socks if you want to as it's very slippery) and put shoes in a plastic bag which will be provided. Slippers are provided which was too big for me which made it more slippery. Better to go barefoot. Get ready for the pong that comes from everybody's socks once shoes are removed, phew!!!!!

    Entrance to castle grounds
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • yukisanto's Profile Photo

    Himeji Castle

    by yukisanto Updated Jan 30, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Interesting. I guess if you want to see one castle, this is it. At least it's authentic. Better than the osaka castle, which was actually a museum with a castle-like exterior. See my page on Himeji on what to expect in the castle. Oh, and do prepare to do some climbing of steps after steps in the castle, and the long walk to the castle inner grounds from the main gate. You'll also need to take off your shoes before you enter, so wear shoes that are easy to put on/off.

    Cost: 600yen
    Opens from 9-4pm daily

    NOTE: Himeiji Castle is closed for renovation until 2015.

    At the bottom of the castle grounds, inner bailey View from the top Himeji castle and the town

    Was this review helpful?

  • stamporama's Profile Photo

    The castle is under renovation!

    by stamporama Written Jul 27, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As of July 2010, the Himeji castle is under renovation which began last year and is scheduled to be completed by 2014. Restoration is focused on replastering the walls and replacing roof tiles on the main keep.

    When we visited, there were cranes and scaffolding beside the keep (see photo) and visitors may not enter the keep, except to view the ongoing repairs from a designated area.

    But business as usual
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rabbityama's Profile Photo

    Senhime Shrine and Ishitorii

    by Rabbityama Written Dec 8, 2009

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Senhime Shrine and Ishitorii are located on Mount Otokoyama. The shrine itself is not so impressive however, the view of Himeji Castle from Otokoyama makes it worth the visit. It's also free, so there's nothing to lose.

    Ishitorii Senhime Shrine Himeji Castle from Otokoyama
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Himeji

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

41 travelers online now

Comments

Himeji Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Himeji things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Himeji sightseeing.

View all Himeji hotels