Grand Opening of Himeji Castle
on March 27, 2015 (Fri)
Historic and Romantic City
with Himeji Castle,a World Heritage Site
Himeji City, located in southwestern Hyogo Prefecture with a population of 530,000, has a lot of places to see including Himeji Castle, which is a national treasure and a World Heritage site. Himeji Castle was built in 1346 and is one of the castles that has gained high international acclaim among still existing feudal castles in Japan. From the time of its construction, 48 lords from 13 families lived in this castle. The elegant castle has been maintained through many extension and restoration works. The original shape of the tower complex, which consists of the main keep and three smaller towers that are connected by the corridors and passages, is perfectly preserved. The exquisite appearance of the main keep and the watchtowers with white plastered earthen walls is considered to resemble a white egret taking flight, and that is why the castle is called “Shirasagi-jo” or the Egret Castle.
Himeji Castle is now undergoing a five-year conservative restoration but you can closely see the outside of the main keep, which is mostly completed, from “Egret’s Eye View.” This is a temporary facility to observe the restoration work and is open to the public until January 15, 2014.
A fine panoramic view of the city also can be seen from it, which is at the height of 100 meters above sea level. Don’t miss the chance to see “Himeji” from the bird’s eye.
You cannot enter the main keep from January 16, 2014 to March 26, 2015 because of dismantling the roofed scaffolding that covers the main keep. Other places at the castle, however, will be open as usual from the January 16th date. And, finally, the entire castle will open again on March 27, 2015. Look forward to seeing the stunningly beautiful inside and outside of the main castle!
Additional Attractions of Himeji
Himeji is known as a filming location of many films and TV dramas, such as You Only Live Twice (released in 1967), Kagemusha and Shogun (both in 1980), The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise, Rurouni Kenshin starring Japanese actor Ken Sato, and other popular works. Touring shooting places including Himeji Castle, Koko-en Garden, and Mt. Shosha Engyo-ji Temple, and taking pictures at the same places where movie characters were filmed in action is a popular itinerary in the city.
Koko-en is a Japanese garden of about 3.5 hectares with Himeji Castle as a backdrop. You can enjoy the feeling of a time slip back into the Edo period (1603-1867).
Mt. Shosha Engyo-ji Temple
Engyo-ji, a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, has prospered as a training center of monks and attracts many visitors from all over Japan. You can experience a one-day program of shakyo (sutra copying) and meditation in a quiet atmosphere.
Access to Himeji
1 hr and 20 min by bus from Osaka Airport
2 hr and 10 min by airport limousine from Kansai Airport
By train (JR Shinkansen bullet trains)
From Tokyo: 3 hr and 10 min
From Nagoya: 1 hr and 20 min
From Hakata: 2 hr and 15 min