September 23, 2017
Top 10 Tourist Attractions & Best Things to Do in Himeji, Japan
Himeji city is best known for its famous castle which was registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2015 they finished their reconstruction that took five years. Now you can see the replica of the original beautiful white wall which attracts many tourists around the world. New tourist information center at the main station would provide you with great useful information. So now I will show you the best 10 spots to see in this gorgeous historical town.
1. Himeji castle
The castle was registered as world heritage in 1993. The castle is known for its specific architecture. The construction of the castle would represent sophistication of their defence system and political power.
This was the tallest castle in Japan which meant that this castle represented once the highest power and sophistication of military power in the samurai period. In 1346 Akamatsusadanori started to construct the castle during the civilisation war in Japan many other people took over the castle after that.
During the time of under different ownership the castle changed its shape but the Castle we can see today was the same shape as 1909. End of samurai rule in Japan, the owner of the castle gave the castle to the new-formed government.
After that the government decided to use the castle as educational and historical display purpose. Because of that reason, the castle is now open to the public.
Do you know why now is the best time to visit the castle? The reason would be, in 2015 they refurbished the very famous white wall of the castle, however this white paint will lose its brightness when the time passes so now is the time to visit the castle and take great pictures front of the freshly repainted white wall!
Name: Himeji castle
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji city Honmachi 68 Himeji castle Sannomaru Square North side
Closed: December 29th to 30th
Map: Map to Himeji castle
The first amazing sight you would encounter when you get off the main Himeji station would be Castleview. Recently, the station parade underwent new development, they made a new observation deck where you can see the best of view of the castle.
The deck has a roof, wall and floor that made of local products. The deck has the roof so whatever the weather you can enjoy the view unlimitedly. Around the station, you can shop and eat or even enjoy the new garden to take a break.
The street leading to the castle restrict entrance of motor vehicles so pedestrians can enjoy the view of the town not worry about safety. Let’s experience rejuvenated Station Parade.
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji city Ekimae-cho 188
Map: Map to Castleview
3. Koko-en Garden
The garden was constructed for 100 anniversary of the city. It’s about 3.5ha, a large garden next to the castle. The land was originally belonged to the part of the castle however in 1618 they excavated some of the oldest settlements.
Now the garden was designed around its original excavated plan. It’s divided into nine different gardens. Inside gardens you can enjoy tea or food at the restaurant and have relaxing time.
The garden is next to the castle so you can enjoy it before or after your castle visit. You can relax and forget about noise from inner city.
Name: Koko-en garden
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji-shi Honmachi 68
Closed: December 29th and 30th
Map: Map to Koko-en garden
4. Egret Himeji
It is a public complex building that comes with shopping center, restaurants, public halls and its rooftop is open to public for free to enjoy the view of the Himeji castle.
When you’re near to the castle you may not be able to enjoy whole view however if you come to the top of this complex you can see the clear view of the castle because there is nothing obstructing your view!
From the restaurants inside, you can enjoy the view of the castle also eating wonderful food or local cuisine. During very hot summer, there is a rooftop beer garden; you can enjoy your favorite alcohol while watching light up castle at night.
Name: Egret Himeji
Address:Hyogo prefecture Himeji City Honcho 68-290
Map: Map to Egret Himeji
5. Museum of Himeji
If you want to enjoy a bit of European art in Japan, you can! The building of the museum used to be an old army headquarter; it has a unique construction of using red bricks.
The museum has strong focus on Belgian art because one of the Belgian city is a sister city of Himeji. The museum collections include traditional European art to modern art.
The museum also exhibits local artist collections. There is a café that is very popular amongst tourists. If you walk around the castle it’s a great place to stop over to have a coffee.
Name: Museum of Himeji
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji City Honmachi 68-25
Closed: every Monday except holidays
Map: Map to Museum of Himeji
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Engyo-ji is Tendai sect temple on the top of the mount Shosha. The mountain is located the north side of the city. This is a very authentic temple which is constructed in 970.
It has a resemblance of the very famous temple in Kyoto, which also constructed on the side of the mountain.
The wooden construction of the main building and dining hall were registered as one of Japanese culture heritage. Also, it was one of the filming locations of Tom Cruise’s Last Samurai.
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji city shosya 2968
Map: Map to Engyo-ji
7. Mikike mansion
This old mansion is famous because it’s the oldest construction amongst the same kind. It used to belong to a rich farmer who was given a special class due to its wealth.
The huge thatched roof is worth a look! You can also see 6 outbuildings and a garden. It is a very large mansion which kept on its original interior from which you can learn how this rich farmer lived in a long time ago.
In nearby you can also see a place where they did schooling and a hall to have meetings. Please come and see this educational historical site where you can see how people lived outside the castle.
Name: Mikike mansion
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji-shi Hayashida-cho Nakakamae 74
Map: Map to Mikike mansion
8. Himeji Central Park
Japanese Safari Park you can get from the main station in 30 minutes by bus. You don’t need to take your own car, there is a safari bus you can go on. You can see lions, cheaters and tigers as well as giraffes and zebras.
The Safari Park has an amusement park section where you can go on thrill rides or merry-go-round and go-kart for small visitors. You can enjoy a whole day here, strongly recommended for family visitors.
Name: Himeji Central Park
Address:Hyogo prefecture Himeji city Toyotomachi Kodani 1436-1
Map: Map to Himeji Central Park
9. Nadagiku sake brewery
Due to a mention in a very old manuscript, Himeji was given a name as birthplace of Japanese Sake. This particular Sake brewery is famous for female member of stuffs who are making sake. Inside the brewery, you can taste different sake and purchase them of course!
If you don’t drink, the restaurant front of it, you can try healthy tofu product or healthy course meals. There is a kiosk outside, you can buy or try sweetie sake (non alcohol) or soft cream.
So even you are not a drinker, you can enjoy other products.
Name: Nadagiku sake brewery
Address: Hyogo Prefecture Himeji City Tegara 1-chome 121
Map: Map to Nadagiku sake brewery
10. Hiromine shrine
This shrine was built in 733 on top of Hiromine Mountain. This is famous shrine because Shinto (the Japanese original religion) and Buddhism (later came from India) were studied together in this shrine.
So the construction of the shrine is a mixture of Shinto and Buddhism. There was a samurai captain who made lots of wealth selling eye drops with this shrine’s amulet.
From the shrine, you can enjoy the great view of the Himeji castle to the sea front.
Name: Hiromine shrine
Address: Hyogo prefecture Himeji-shi Hiromineyama 52
Map: Map to Hiromine shrine
Please come and visit this wonderful historical town!
So now you know all the places you shall visit in Himeji city. Obviously best season to visit is spring because of the cherry blossom. Autumn is also good because you can enjoy color change of leaves into this bright orange red. The castle is always light up at night so basically you can visit any season. If you come to Himeji don’t just visit the castle! Don’t forget to discover around the castle what they can offer.