Because of the strong imperial history of Japan, there are many castles, but if there is one that stands out as “the most beautiful” – then it must be the pearly white Himeji Castle – which is one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be listed in Japan. Domestically, it is also ranked as one of the 3 premier castles in Japan.
Himeji Castle (姫路城)
The Castle itself was built back in the 1300s and went through a series of remodels throughout its history – in particular it was heavily bombed during WWII (1945) although fortunately not damaged much. The city was also subjected to a massive earthquake back in 1995 but because of the construction of the castle – it survived completed undamaged.
The castle itself can be seen in a distance and because it was cherry blossom season – there were a lot of local tourists there to enjoy the beautiful weather and view.
To enter the castle, you need to pay, it includes an audio-guide and you can just enjoy the castle grounds and the castle itself at your own pace. That said, the place is more visually amazing than informative – mainly because unlike the Osaka Castle – the inside of the building didn’t have as much information about the history.
Kokoen Garden (好古園)
With the ticket purchase you, can also tag on entrance fee of the Kokoen Garden, I highly recommend this because once you’ve been to the garden, you’ll think the price you pay is nothing compared to the maintenance that the garden has. It is a short walk from the main castle entrance and there’s clear signage directing you.
The garden itself has a broad variety of plants, and everything is kept meticulously by the staff there – every photo you take becomes an art piece when you’re there purely because the variety of colours and positioning is just amazing. There are several different areas and themes to enjoy – including a small bamboo garden where there was a cute resident.
An extra snap that I particularly like: