Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
August 23, 2010
From journal Kobe for a Week-long Conference
Los Angeles, California
August 26, 2007
Himeji isn’t hard to find. I took the subway from Kobe to Himeji in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. Once off the subway I started wandering around trying to find the castle. My strategy was to walk in a straight line and hopefully find it, it’s a freaking castle from medieval time after all surrounded by twenty-first century buildings. My strategy worked because a minute into my walk the castle rose over the horizon. It was beautiful and after entering it’s easy to see why it is considered the first Japanese National Cultural Treasure and the most visited castle in the country.
A moat and beautifully manicured grounds surround the castle, which sits on top of a hill. At the base of the castle was the entrance where I paid 600 yen and walked up to the main building. Before entering the castle I had to take off my shoes to walk around the inside. In return I was given some oversized slippers to wear. About a quarter of the way though I along with the entire non-Japanese tourist took them off because we couldn’t walk. Before going I suggest brushing up on basic Japanese history mainly focusing on the hierarchy system including the relationship between the emperor, shogun, samurai, etc…
The inside of the castle is set up similar to a museum. Artifacts are found through out the different floors along with commentary on the history of the time period that the castle was built in. The castle itself was built in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and throughout its life over 40 lords has lived there.
The castle is five stories tall and surrounded by walls that have opening for guns to shoot through. Past the wall there are smaller donjons that are smaller then the main building of the castle. These also have openings on the side, but instead of shooting through them, attackers who have passes the main wall would have boiling water poured on them.
Tour guides can also be found within the walls of the castle. A few do speak English, but from what I found out at the gates it’s a hit or miss if you happen to show up on the same day and time that the English speaking guides are there. Not to worry. All of the displays that are in the castle have small plaques that describe what you are looking at in English as well as other languages.
From journal Land of the rising sun
Hong Kong, United Kingdom
March 12, 2002
From journal Oriental dreams - Himeji