Himeji Castle 🏯 is the one castle to visit in Japan. Contrary to other castles, this one is still the original and one of the oldest (built in 1346 but the current version dates from ~1617). It was renovated recently and reopened in 2015. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The fourth day of our trip, we finally took the Shinkansen 🚄, aka the best bullet train in the world. It’s comfortable and feels a bit like you’re on a plane. You’re always sitting in the moving direction because Japan is awesome. Train fans should be happy in Japan, there are so many! It’s also super impressive how clean the train stations are; I even saw maintenance cleaning the stairs cracks. In the Shinkansen leaving Odawara (Hakone area), we could still see the Mount Fuji for a while.
We’re going to spend 4 hours on the train so our lunch will be tuna mayo onigiri. 🍙 It’s a cheap and great snack you can find at every convenience store. The tuna mayo one often sells out fast though. It’s a trip down memory lane because I used to eat that a lot when I was living in South Korea.
Arriving at Himeji station, we can’t miss the castle: it’s standing at the top of the hill, with the main road leading to it from the station. It’s quite impressive to see. Finally, we see cherry blossoms! 🌸 It’s not full bloom yet but a lot of them are out. People are chilling in the park surrounding the castle and it’s super nice.
Since the end of the renovations in 2015, Himeji castle has seen a boom in the number of tourists, so we have to line up to enter the castle. The entrance was 1000¥ per adult, and while the castle is definitely one of the “premier” castles in Japan, I don’t know if the entrance is a must-do, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. I blame it on the peak season, but we had to line up to enter, then inside the castle, it was line up after line up to reach the top and to get back down.
You can also visit the walls of the castle, which are less crowded. There were so many beautiful views of the castle! We had time to kill so after our visit, we went to B-coffee, a board game coffee shop near the shopping galleries.