JAPAN: Himeji Castle and Shironoshita

Hundreds of castles, fortifications and fortresses are scattered all over Japan, some in very good condition or restored and made accessible to the public. During a trip to Nippon you can not avoid a visit, better you should not miss such an amazing and unique tour.

One of the most famous sites is the castle tower complex in Himeji (Japanese 姫 路 城, Himeji-jō) from the 17th century. The Himeji-jō in Hyōgo prefecture is one of Japan’s national treasures and was also recognized by UNESCO in 1993 as a World Heritage Site. On our trip from Osaka to Hiroshima we made a stop in this castle town Himeji (Japanese 姫 路 市, -shi), looked at the Himeji Castle and walked through the Koko-en Garden, which is considered one of the three most beautiful in Japan, especially during the cherry blossom festival Hanami. We wandered through the Engyō-ji Temple, climbed Mount Seppiko and shot a video with Tomohisa Shiroshita about the new Shironoshita Guesthouse.

In the interview Tomohisa tells us about the sights of the city and his guesthouse, the video for Shironoshita can be found later in the article:

It’s interesting to see how the Shōgun used to live, how the samurai fought and how they defended themselves. The castles are masterpieces of the construction art of the time and often offer great views over the city. Although they were built to last for a long time and more stone was used than for other Japanese structures, most of the castles were mainly wooden made and many were destroyed over the years. Meanwhile, a large number have been rebuilt as sites of national cultural heritage and countless projects are currently still running nationwide. The restored castles, however, have almost without exception been reconstructed from concrete and have only the appearance in common with their historical models.

The castle complex Himeji -jo, which consists of 83 individual buildings, is considered the most beautiful example of Japanese castle construction and has the epithet Shirasagijō (白鷺 城, German “White Heron Castle”), an allusion to their white outer walls and roofs. Despite their architectural beauty, their fortifications are highly developed and the castle was considered virtually impregnable. The roofs and walls of the castle were renovated from April 2010 to March 2015, which restored the façade to its original white condition.

Himeji-jō has repeatedly served as a backdrop for internationally known productions: In the film James Bond 007 – Man lives only twice (1967), the castle was shown as the headquarters of the Japanese secret police, in 1980, the castle served in the after James Clavells Roman Shogun turned eponymous TV series as a replacement for Osaka Castle. A considerable part of the film Ran (1985) by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa plays there, and also scenes of the Samurai epic Last Samurai (2003) were filmed there.

Many state institutions as well as private companies offer stamp collecting programs. Here you can mark in a notebook or on a map, the respective castles, which you visited, with individual postmarks on the spot. There are small books for the 100 most beautiful castles in Japan for example, for Onsen bathhouses or even public buildings like post offices or courts. Next to the stamp field is a second tear-off field, in the sending of all stamped coupons you get a gift. A creative idea especially for children and students, but also the adults are eagerly collecting and thus all get an increased awareness of culture and history.

As in the previous articles, we highly recommend the guest houses on site. There are innumerable mid-to high-priced hotels, but only a few hostels or backpacker accommodations. In recent years, however, more and more guesthouses have opened, a great alternative to the other options. Residents simply rent a few rooms to domestic and foreign travelers. Often, the operators also have the intention to convey Japanese culture, the atmosphere is mostly familiar. You feel as a guest at someone’s home. Just a guesthouse. In Himeji we can recommend the Shironoshita Guesthouse.

The audio interview with owner Tomohisa is at the beginning of the article, he also leads in English extensive social media accounts and a website, with an illustrated signpost to the guesthouse, a separate city tour offer and the possibility to book online. Here is the short video with a tour of the premises:

Of course, Himeji also has everything that every Japanese city has to offer. You can go shopping well, of course, found on every corner and the great vending machines and the food is in Japan just great.


Shironoshita Guesthouse

Adress:  21 Kooderamachi, Himeji, Hyōgo Prefecture 670-0852, Japan

Google-Maps:  Location Link

Phone: +81 79-240-6550

  Email:  info@shironoshita.com

Website:  http://shironoshita.com

fb_icon_325x325  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shironoshita

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shironoshita

Tripadvisor:  Profile Page


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