Himeji castle (Himeji-jo) is known as the grandest and the most preserved feudal castle in Japan. Due to its ivory white facade, it was vested to also be called as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo). With all the Japanese chateaus, Himeji-jo was never destroyed by bombings, fire, nor earthquakes after over 400 long years.
Himeji-jo also gained its popularity because of Okiku's story, one of the most overheard folklore in the castle, which story revolves around a former servant who rose from a haunted well, which was named after her.
The White Heron Castle is a National treasure and the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, which was conferred to it on December 1993.
Photo by Oren Rozen. Licensed under Creative Commons. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)
After a historical tour inside the castle keep, and a little spirit questing, one may also pay a visit to nearby attractions such as Himeji Zoo, gardens and various museums.
The most reliable way to access Himeji-jo is through a bus or bullet train.
Via Shinki Bus and Keio Bus, you can take the road at night from Tokyo (Shinjuku Keio Highway Bus Terminal) heading to Himeji Station. One-way ticket costs 9000 Yen, while a back-and-forth ride costs around 17,400 Yen. Take note that schedules and fares are subject to change.
One can also take a bullet train for faster travel. Take shinkansen at Tokyo station and alight at Himeji Station via Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen.
From Himeji Station, one can take a 15-minute walk north to Himeji Castle's entrance gate. Riding a Shinki bus at the north exit of Himeji station is another option, and get off at Otemon-mae shop. One can also hire a taxi for a more convenient trip.
You may get an English-speaking guide upon reservation.
Expect that it is physically challenging to get up to the castle. Also, take note that there are days that the castle gets crowded. The castle is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission fee for adults is 1000 yen.
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