Himeji Citadel 姫路城 • Simply One Cookbook

Uncover the wealthy historical past and cultural significance of Himeji Citadel, also referred to as the White Heron Citadel. It’s the largest, most famous fort and one of many 12 unique castles nonetheless left in Japan.

Himeji Castle

Our household loves visiting Japanese Castles. Every time we go to a brand new one, we get the chance to be taught extra about every fort’s wealthy historical past and engaging tales. As we have a look at these awe-inspiring buildings, we are able to solely think about what it was like throughout the feudal instances when the lords and shoguns lived there. Prepared to take a look at Himeji Citadel? Let’s go!

Remaining Unique Japanese Castles

Nearly the entire 200 castles you see in Japan immediately are replicas. Quite a few originals fell sufferer to fires, conflict, or earthquakes. Remarkably, solely 12 unique castles stay standing in Japan to at the present time and they’re:

Of the unique castles, the grandest of all of them is the Himeji Citadel in Hyōgo Prefecture. It’s thought-about one among Japan’s three premiere castles together with Matsumoto Citadel and Kumamoto Citadel.

Otemon Entrance gate to Himeji Castle

Find out how to get to Himeji Citadel 

Himeji Citadel, positioned in Himeji Metropolis, is well accessible by both Shinkansen or Shinkaisoku 新快速 (Particular Fast Service Practice). If you’re already within the Kansai space, you will get to Himeji Station in 40 minutes from Kobe, one hour from Osaka Station utilizing the Shinkaisoku, and one hour and quarter-hour from Kyoto Station. It’s shut sufficient for a day journey if Himeji Citadel is in your itinerary. When you take the Shinkansen, Himeji Station is simply 30 min from Shin-kobe station.

While you arrive, you’ll be able to see the majestic fort simply down the street from the prepare station. You may both stroll to the fort in about quarter-hour or take the bus. Buses depart each 5-7 min from the prepare station that may conveniently cease close to the fort.

Himeji Castle

Historical past Of Himeji Citadel

Courting again to the early 1600s, the present construction of Himeji Citadel underwent intensive renovation and restoration, resulting in its reopening to the general public in 2015. The location during which Himeji Citadel lies dates again to 1333 when it served as a seat of energy for rulers.

In addition to being the most important and most visited fort, it is usually one of many first Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Websites. It’s also an instance of conventional Japanese fort structure and incorporates many superior defensive methods and options from the Feudal Interval (1185-1603).

As you cross Sakuramon Bridge (桜門橋) by way of Otemon Gate (大手門), you’ll be able to take pleasure in strolling across the fort grounds for gratis.

Himeji Citadel Nickname

Himeji Citadel is also referred to as Shirasagijo (白鷺城) “White Heron Citadel” resulting from its white exterior and resemblance to a chook flying. Its elegant look and grand stature appeal to hundreds of thousands of holiday makers yearly, with the height season being throughout cherry blossom season. From late March to mid-April, over 1,000 ephemeral cherry blossom timber encompass the fort advanced, in a tapestry of pink and white, making a magical-esque scene.

Photospot of Himeji Castle

Tour of Himeji Citadel

Earlier than coming into Himeji Citadel, you’ll need to buy tickets from the merchandising machines. Entrance charges are ¥1,000 for adults and ¥300 for all college kids (costs in 2024).

Himeji Citadel is constructed on a hilltop (Himeyama) so there’s fairly a little bit of climbing because the fort’s stairs are fairly steep – A phrase of warning to those that may need hassle climbing or strolling for lengthy durations.

Himeji Castle walkway with tower defnse systems visible

The paths and walkways as much as the fort are deliberately designed like a maze, supposed to confuse the enemy throughout assaults. Along with the complexity, these paths are very slim and steep, making them even tougher to assault.

As you’ll be able to see within the picture under, many gates resulting in Himeji Citadel Tower are tiny. It will be troublesome for various adults (or a military) to enter rapidly, enhancing the fort’s defensibility.

Himeji castle stone walls and narrow gates

The varied gates act as limitations and the excessive stone partitions make it troublesome for any potential invader to move by way of earlier than reaching the principle preserve.

Himeji Castle gate

All through the tour, plaques clarify the needs of particular architectural traits. On this instance, it explains the historical past of the Oil Wall.

Oil wall structure information board

The oil wall is a mud wall made utilizing a rammed-earth building methodology, leading to very sturdy partitions. This specific wall is the one rammed-earth wall remaining on the fort and was initially lined in white lime plaster.

Mud Wall in Himeji Castle using rammed-earth construction

The Himeji Citadel Tower

The Tenshukkaku or main keep in Himeji Castle
The Tenshukkaku (天守閣), means the principle preserve, or the tallest tower of a Japanese fort.

After coming into the principle preserve, there’s a mannequin depicting the Himeji Citadel and the encompassing space throughout the feudal days on the primary ground.

Guests can be taught in regards to the historical past of the fort and the intensive repairs performed through the years. Earlier than 2009, the earlier main restoration was accomplished in 1964. The newer restoration targeted on the substitute of roof tiles and partitions of the principle preserve.

Different shows embody a mannequin of the wood skeleton that helps the fort, demonstrating its resilience in opposition to varied pure disasters, together with the Nice Hanshin Earthquake.

In addition to the primary ground, there aren’t too many artifacts or fort info on show on the opposite flooring. Guests are guided by way of every of the flooring by way of limitations. As a phrase of warning, there isn’t any restroom contained in the precise fort so bear in mind to go earlier than coming into; in any other case it’s a good distance down.

As guests tour every ground, there’s a lighted ground plan on show and a quick rationalization of the particular options on that ground.

2nd floor map of Himeji Castle

One of many attention-grabbing architectural options that stood out to us had been the 2 huge pillars that help the fort, one on the east and one other on the west.

Every ground will get progressively smaller as you go greater up. Although the fort seems prefer it’s 5 tales from the outside, it’s really 6 tales and has a basement ground.

After touring the fort towers, we walked across the fort grounds. One of many attention-grabbing options was the Okiku Ido effectively.

Okiku Ido well

It has been there because the 1500s, and there’s a narrative of homicide and betrayal linked to it. If you’re within the story, learn extra right here.

Native Specialty Meals at Himeji: Sea Eel Sashimi

Anago or Sea Eel local specialty food in HImeji

What is that this sea creature you would possibly ask? Earlier than visiting Himeji Citadel, we rapidly grabbed a chew on the prepare station. At most massive prepare stations in Japan, you will discover all kinds of eating places and retailers close by. We visited a seafood store that had dwell sea eel (anago 穴子), an area specialty we had by no means skilled earlier than.

The anago sashimi (I did say contemporary!) is thinly sliced into uzusukuri (薄造り) and its texture and taste are much like hirame (halibut/flounder). It was accompanied by ponzu and it was fairly scrumptious; nevertheless, there have been a variety of small bones we needed to pull out.

I hope you loved this fast tour of Himeji Citadel. When you haven’t visited an unique Japanese Citadel, we extremely advocate Himeji Citadel, Matsumoto Citadel, and Matsuyama Citadel to your future Japan journey.

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