A Surprise Visit to Himeji Castle

The highlight of my October 2014 Japan trip with Nengkoy was something unexpected.  When my mother and I flew to Osaka for an extended long weekend, the only thing that’s both in our mind was to do a little shopping and visit nearby walking distance places where my nephew and nieces are based.  We did not even had plans of riding the modern, intricate and very efficient subway trains!

But my sweet nephew Denden had a different agenda.  He along with his sisters (my nieces) Erika and Thatcher brought me and Nengkoy to one of the first World UNESCO Heritage Sites of Japan, the famous Himeji Castle located in Hyogo Prefecture (about an hour by speedy train from Osaka).

Upon reaching the Himeji train station, people will definitely not miss this magnificent architectural jewel for it dominates the whole place.  The 20 minute walk from the train station to the castle along a wide boulevard was also enjoyable for you will encounter arty pieces of sculptures lining the whole Otemae-dori pathway.

with my niece erika, enjoying the breezy walk along otemai-dori
with my niece erika, enjoying the breezy walk along otemae-dori

And when we reached the entrance, we were at awe on how magnificent the site was.  What I particularly loved was the bright white color of the building that contrasts the dusky overcast sky during the day of our visit.

There was a Japanese guy at the ticket vending machine who spoke in excellent English who explained to us that the castle is still under renovation and that we would not be able to enter the main castle’s interiors.  Notices posted around indicated that the renovation is expected to be finished by March 2015.  I guess in time for the peak ‘sakura’ spring season.

magnificent!
magnificent!
picture perfect!!! hahaha!
picture perfect!!! hahaha!

Nevertheless, we still purchased tickets and settled on what can be seen inside.  Indeed the view of the castle was spectacular while the Bailey and the accessible grounds that allows visitors were all fantastic.

To compensate for the restrictions to enter the main tower, the bailey and storehouses were converted into dazzling museums showing off many historical artifacts such as armor suits of shoguns, various building as well as the living quarters of Princess Sen and her multitude of female servants.

nengkoy and her beautiful grandchildren exploring the himeji castle complex
nengkoy and her beautiful grandchildren exploring the himeji castle complex
sakuramon bridge at the entrance and the moat surrounding the whole himeji castle complex
sakuramon bridge at the entrance and the moat surrounding the whole himeji castle complex
beautiful cobblestones leading to the west bailey
beautiful cobblestone stairs leading to the west bailey

Though we were not allowed entry inside the tower, I still was very impressed on what we have explored.  The whole surroundings and the atmosphere seem to remain authentic and true to its historical roots.  Indeed, our surprise visit was an overwhelmingly great experience.

Himeji Castle, is truly worth visiting when in Japan!  It definitely possess a grandiose class of its own.

Tenk yu Denden… sa uulitin…

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