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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Himeji
Himeji Castle 
# 1   of 3 most visited
sights in Himeji

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  ratings  -  links

Himeji Castle (PH, Himejijō) is widely considered Japan's most spectacular castle. Unlike many other Japanese castles, Himeji Castle was never destroyed in wars, earthquakes or fires and survives in its original form. It is both a national treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Construction Notice: Major renovation works are being carried out on the castle keep's roof and walls from April 2010 until March 2015 (see photos of the current state). Below is a schedule of the renovation works and the effects they have on a visit to the castle:

From now until spring 2014

A large scaffold structure is covering up the entire main castle keep. Depending on the state of the works, the interior of the castle keep is completely or partially closed to tourists.

Until January 15, 2014, visitors are able to use an elevator to access an observation deck in the scaffold structure, from where the renovation works can be observed (see our reports in March 2011, April 2012 and November 2012). The observation deck's limited capacity might result in waiting times on busy days. To avoid bad surprises, it is possible to make advance reservations for the observation deck on a bilingual website.

Most other parts of the castle grounds are accessible to tourists.

Himeji Castle covered by a huge scaffold structure

Observation deck inside the scaffold structure for tourists to observe the renovation works

From spring 2014 to March 2015

The scaffold structure will be removed, during which time the interior of the castle keep will be off limits to visitors. It is scheduled that the castle keep will become fully visible again around August 2014. And the renovation works are scheduled to be fully completed by the end of March 2015.

Alternative castle destinations in the region

Alternative castle destinations during Himeji's renovation include Hikone Castle, not far from Kyoto. While its castle keep is much smaller than Himeji's, Hikone Castle is also original with a wooden interior, impressive walls and moats and an interesting approach. Another alternative is Osaka Castle, although its castle keep is a relatively recent concrete reconstruction with a modern museum inside.

Inside Himeji Castle

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
From Himeji Station, the castle can be reached in a 15-20 minute walk or 5 minute bus or taxi ride along the broad Otemae-dori Street, which leads straight from the station to the castle.

How to get to and around Himeji

Hours and Fees
Hours:9:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 from late April through August)
Admission into the inner castle grounds ends one hour before closing time.
Admission to the observation deck starts at 9:15 and ends 45 minutes before closing.
The observation deck will be open until January 15, 2014.
Closed:December 29 and 30
Admission:600 yen (reduced to 400 yen during the renovation until March 2015)
Observation platform: 200 yen

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User Ratings
Ratings for Himeji Castle:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of the best  
User Rating (by 1000 users):
93/100
  highly recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 776):
23.  Sojiji Temple (Noto Peninsula)   93/100
24.  Taketomi Island (Yaeyama Islands)   93/100
25.  Cherry Blossoms (Kakunodate)   93/100
26.  Sefa Utaki (Okinawa Island)   93/100
27.  Todaiji Temple (Nara)   93/100
28.  Himeji Castle (Himeji)   93/100
29.  Climbing Mount Fuji (Mount Fuji)   93/100
30.  Monkey Park (Yamanouchi)   93/100
31.  Hot Springs (Kinosaki)   93/100
32.  Peace Park (Hiroshima)   93/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 907):
31.  Shinagawa (Tokyo)   1951
32.  Kita (Umeda) (Osaka)   1871
33.  Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)   1864
34.  Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo)   1786
35.  Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto)   1749
36.  Himeji Castle (Himeji)   1730
37.  Arashiyama (Kyoto)   1717
38.  Marunouchi (Tokyo)   1677
39.  Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto)   1639
40.  Tokyo Dome City (Tokyo)   1536

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We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
himejijo-syuri.jp
Official website of the observation platform, where advance online reservations can be made.

Japanese Links
Himeji Castle
Official website by Himeji City.
himejijo-syuri.jp
Official website of the observation platform, where advance online reservations can be made.

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News and Reports
April 13, 2014
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by raina
November 29, 2012
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April 14, 2012
Himeji Cherry Blossom Report
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March 28, 2011
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Himeji Cherry Blossom Report
April 4, 2010
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Himeji Cherry Blossom Report
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