Japan Himeji Himeji Castle Area

Himeji Castle

The White Egret Castle, a pinnacle of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture

Photo of Himeji Castle, Japan (Himeji Castle by Reginald Pentinio)

Himeji Castle, known as “White Egret Castle” for its brilliant white façade, stands as a significant example of traditional Japanese castle architecture. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this hilltop complex has a history dating back to 1333, with expansions that reflect feudal Japan’s history and culture. Visitors can explore its numerous buildings, including the main keep, towers, and gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of Himeji.

About Himeji Castle

Perched on Himeyama hill in Himeji, Hyōgo, Himeji Castle is renowned for its durability, having survived wars, earthquakes, and bombings, including the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake. The castle’s construction began in the 14th century, with the major development phase completed in 1601. Ikeda Terumasa, an ally of the influential Tokugawa Ieyasu, played a key role in transforming the castle to its present form around that time.

The castle exhibits advanced defensive features and protection mechanisms typical of the Shogun era. Its strategic design and the relationship between the building masses and the tiered roofs offer both function and visual appeal. The white plastered earthen walls contribute to its nickname Hakuro-jō or Shirasagi-jō, translated as “White Egret Castle.”

The complex demonstrates the era’s craftsmanship and the sophistication of Japanese castle design, with over eighty structures including turrets and gates, connected by gates and winding paths. The main keep, a six-story wooden structure, is notable for its attached wing buildings. Inside, visitors ascend steep, narrow staircases to the top floor, which provides sweeping views of Himeji.

The west bailey offers a glimpse into the residential life of its historical inhabitants and a different view of the main keep. Next to the castle is the Koko-en Garden, created in 1992, providing a tranquil setting that complements the castle’s martial history. During cherry blossom season in early April, the castle grounds are a favored destination for hanami.

Visitors are encouraged to appreciate the castle’s detailed design and workmanship, from the stone-throwing platforms to elaborate woodwork. Weekday visits are recommended for a quieter experience, and volunteer English guides are available at the administration office for comprehensive tours. Additionally, the Koko-en Gardens and the outer moats offer varying perspectives of the castle’s splendor.

Himeji Castle holds cultural significance for Himeji City and serves as a connection to Japan’s feudal era. As one of the most prominent and visited castles in Japan, it draws countless visitors annually, attracted to its historical and architectural magnificence.

Upcoming Events what's happening around Himeji Castle

🌸 Night Cherry Blossom Party
Friday, 29 March - Sunday, 7 April 2024

Himeji Castle’s annual evening cherry-blossom viewing will commence from the 29th of March to the 7th of April.

The castle gates will be open from 6:30pm to 9pm, with last entry to the castle at 8:30pm.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate, and no advance reservation is required.

Full information, including any terms and conditions can be found on the Official Event Page.

Updated 29 Mar 2024
Event listings are sourced from public information, and may be incorrect or outdated. Always consult the official website for full details.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Himeji Castle

A 85

JR Himeji
 JR Kobe Line + 1 more

 20-30 minute walk (2.0km)

Around Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

Castle in Himeji

open 9am - 4pm (varies)
closed Seasonal Dates


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Updated 14 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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