Himeji Travel Guide
Nestled between the cities of Osaka and Okayama, the Japanese city of Himeji may be smaller than most, but has a gigantic character as well as a serenity that cannot be matched elsewhere in the country. Home to some of the most famous castles and temples in Japan, Himeji will appeal to those who have a deep love and interest in the history and culture of this fabulous land.
To make sure you do not miss out on all the things to do and all the amazing sites, you should consult your city & travel guide to Himeji. The city’s serene ambience will make sure that all the stress and strains of your travels will dissipate on arrival.
Himeji’s major cultural attractions are its non-concrete castles which have managed to survive all the devastations the country has suffered throughout the long centuries. The one castle which draws visitors to it like moths to a burning flame is Himeji-jo. This magnificent castle was constructed in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and then increased by Ikeda Terumasa around 30 years later. It was nicknamed White Egret Castle (Shirasagi-jo) due to its strikingly beautiful white edifice. Declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this beautiful castle is considered to be the country’s most beautiful castle and it is not hard to see why.
Cross the moat on the western section of Himeji-jo and you will discover Koko-en. This is an amazing replica of the samurai quarters, situated in a stunning garden. Koko-en also consists of gardens in the Edo style, two serene ponds, a gentle stream running through the gardens, a restaurant and a tea arbour where you can just let the stress of the outside world just disappear.
History lovers will no doubt fall in love with the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History. With interesting and artistically arranged displays, this intriguing museum will take you on a journey through the history of Japanese castles including Himeji-jo, as well as through various historical periods. What makes this museum even more fascinating is that at certain times of the day you are allowed to try on an authentic kimono or samurai armour.
You will find many shrines and temples in Himeji. Near Himeji-jo you will find the beautiful Senhime Shrine. The fact that this is the only shrine to be connected with a castle makes this shrine utterly unique and fascinating. If you make your way up the stairs you will be rewarded with the most amazing views of the castle.
Engyo-ji Temple is a stunningly beautiful and peaceful temple complex on Mount Shosha. You may recognise it as the backdrop for the film ‘The Last Samurai’, starring Tom Cruise. With waves of peace and serenity flowing through the complex, let your spirit take flight as you explore the temple grounds.
You will find a limitless amount of restaurants in Himeji, ranging from simple fast foods to five star gourmet eating, including western and international cuisines.
There is a good selection of hotels in Himeji, from inexpensive hotels around the train station to comfortable mid-range family friendly accommodation to the height of luxury hotels. Service is friendly, professional and extremely welcoming no matter which option you chose.
Himeji is a fantastic place to visit, even if only on an overnight stay from Tokyo. Full of historical buildings and monuments, delightful gardens and fabulous restaurants, Himeji is full of charm and history, which makes it such a wonderful tourist destination.