Himeji Castle

Ask anyone who lives in Japan and they will tell you that
Himeji is far and away the best castle in Japan.
It's a must-see for any castle-lover visiting Japan!

To get there, my friends and I took the fabled Shinkansen! The distance to Himeji from Wakayama is not exceedingly far, but we saved an entire hour taking the bullet train.

Some people refer to Himeji castle as the "white heron castle" because they believe that it resembles a heron in its tall, white elegance. It was originally constructed in the 14th century by the powerful clan Norimura Akamatsu. Later the castle was enlarged and altered by successive lords. The entire castle itself is a National Treasure.

A view of the defenses of Himeji
castle, taken from the high
floor of the main Donjon

The castle grounds consist of a five-story donjon, three smaller donjons, fully defensible walls with towers, a moat, defense turrets, numerous gates and gardens and encompasses an area of 220,000 square meters!

Can you see me? I'm the speck
wearing the black sweater at
the base of the main donjon!

This is the first castle I'd been to in Japan where you couldn't explore the whole thing in an hour or less! I just had to get a closer look at the main donjon, or keep, of the castle.

Touching the donjon wall,
I am taken back to stand
with the samurai three hundred years ago.


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