Home
Back

Himeji Castle (PH, Himejijō), also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered Japan's most spectacular castle for its imposing size and beauty and its well preserved, complex castle grounds. The castle is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country's twelve original castles.

Himeji Castle lies at a strategic point along the western approach to the former capital city of Kyoto. The first fortifications built on the site were completed in the 1400s, and were gradually enlarged over the centuries by the various clans who ruled over the region. The castle complex as it survives today was completed in 1609. It is made up of over eighty buildings spread across multiple baileys, which are connected by a series of gates and winding paths.

Most visitors to Himeji Castle enter the castle via the Otemon Gate into the admission-free third bailey (Sannomaru). The Sannomaru contains of a large, cherry tree-lined lawn, and is a popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms usually in early April. A ticket booth can be found at the far end of the bailey, marking the entrance to the paid area.

The labyrinth-like approach from there to the main keep leads along walled paths and through multiple gates and baileys with the purpose to slow down and expose attacking forces. At the heart of the complex stands the main keep, a six story wooden structure. It is one of only a handful castle keeps in Japan that feature wing buildings, adding complexity to its appearance.

Visitors enter the main keep through an entrance in the lower floor of the building and climb upwards via a series of steep, narrow staircases. Each level gets progressively smaller as you ascend. The floors are generally unfurnished and display just a few multilingual signs explaining architectural features such as portholes, rock chutes and concealed spaces as well as renovation efforts made over the years to preserve the structure.

The topmost floor houses a small shrine and lets visitors peer out in all directions, down over the roofs, the maze-like defenses and out across the city of Himeji. You can also admire an up close view of the fish-shaped roof ornaments that are believed to protect from fire.

After exiting the keep, visitors can make their way back to the entrance gate. Before leaving the paid grounds, they have the option to explore one additional bailey, the west bailey (Nishinomaru) which served as the residence of a princess and provides views of the main keep from a different perspective. A long building with an enclosed corridor and multiple unfurnished rooms survives along the bailey's walls and can be entered by visitors.

Himeji Castle is also a highly popular cherry blossom spot during the short and crowded blooming season which usually falls in early April. On busy days, such as during the cherry blossom season, Golden Week and the summer holidays, visitors may encounter considerable waiting times for entering the interior of the main keep. The number of visitors allowed to enter the main keep may be limited by the use of numbered tickets.

Getting there and around

Himeji Castle stands about one kilometer down the broad Otemae-dori Street from Himeji Station. The castle can be reached from the station's north exit in a 15-20 minute walk or five minute ride by bus (100 yen one way) or taxi (about 750 yen one way).

How to get to and around Himeji

Hours and Fees

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Himeji

Top rated in Himeji
Budget:
    • Shironoshita Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Shironoshita Guesthouse offers accommodation in Himeji. Each room is equipped with a shared bathroom. Shironoshita Guesthouse features free WiFi throughout the property. A flat-screen TV is offered. You will find a shared lounge at the property. Himeji Castle is 900 metres from Shironoshita Guesthouse, while Mt. Shosha Ropeway is 6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 66 km from Shironoshita Guesthouse.
      View on Booking.com
      9.6Booking.com
    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Himeji
      Luxury
      Located in Himeji, 1.7 km from Himeji Castle, Daiwa Roynet Hotel Himeji provides accommodation with a fitness centre, private parking and a restaurant. Located around 33 km from Omiya Hachiman Shrine, the hotel with free WiFi is also 33 km away from Miki History Museum. Guests can enjoy city views. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Daiwa Roynet Hotel Himeji every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. A buffet, continental or Asian breakfast is available daily at the property. Speaking English, Japanese and Korean at the 24-hour front desk, staff are always at hand to help. Miki City Horimitsu Art Museum is 33 km from the accommodation, while Miki Municipal Hardware Museum is 33 km away. The nearest airport is Kobe Airport, 67 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Himeji.
      View on Booking.com
      8.7Booking.com
    • Richmond Hotel Himeji
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Richmond Hotel Himeji is situated in Himeji, 3.1 km from Himeji Castle and 33 km from Omiya Hachiman Shrine. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Miki Municipal Hardware Museum is 34 km away and The Ruins of Miki Castle is 34 km from the hotel. All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. With a private bathroom fitted with a shower and a hairdryer, rooms at the hotel also feature a city view. At Richmond Hotel Himeji the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers a buffet or ? la carte breakfast. Miki History Museum is 33 km from Richmond Hotel Himeji, while Miki City Horimitsu Art Museum is 34 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kobe Airport, 67 km from the hotel.
      View on Booking.com
      8.5Booking.com
    • Hotel Monterey Himeji
      Luxury
      Featuring free WiFi, Hotel Monterey Himeji offers accommodation in Himeji. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and has a flat-screen TV. You will find a kettle in the room. The rooms come with a private bathroom fitted with a bath. Extras include slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Himeji Castle is 1.2 km from Hotel Monterey Himeji, while Shikama-k? is 6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 67 km from the property.
      View on Booking.com
      8.4Booking.com
    • Tabist CapsuleHotel APODS Himeji Station
      Budget-friendly
      Set within 1.8 km of Himeji Castle and 33 km of Omiya Hachiman Shrine, Tabist CapsuleHotel APODS Himeji Station features rooms in Himeji. The property is around 33 km from Miki History Museum, 33 km from Miki City Horimitsu Art Museum and 33 km from Miki Municipal Hardware Museum. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. The rooms at the capsule hotel come with a TV and a safety deposit box. The units feature a shared bathroom, free toiletries and bed linen. The Ruins of Miki Castle is 33 km from Tabist CapsuleHotel APODS Himeji Station, while Shonyu-ji Temple is 33 km away. The nearest airport is Kobe Airport, 66 km from the accommodation.
      View on Booking.com
      8.2Booking.com
    • Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring
      Mid-range
      Only a 3-minute walk from JR Himeji Station, Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring offers modern rooms with free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Guests can relax in the public hot-spring baths or request massages for an extra cost. The air-conditioned rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV, fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. The en suite bathrooms come with a shower, toilet, hairdryer and free toiletries. There is a sauna at this hotel where guests can relax from their travels. A coin-launderette is available at the hotel. Copy services and luggage storage are available at the front desk. Taxi arrangements can also be made at the reception. A semi-buffet breakfast is served at the on-site restaurant. Local menu items are also available upon request. Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring is a 20-minute walk from the world heritage site of Himeji Castle. Both Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple and Himeji Central Park are a 30-minute drive away from Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring. Guests can also take JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line to Kobe Station in 40 minutes or Super Hakuto 13 Limited ExpressTottori for 60 minutes to reach Osaka Station.
      View on Booking.com
      8.1Booking.com
    • HOTEL LiVEMAX PREMIUM Himejieki-Minami
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 2-star accommodation, HOTEL LiVEMAX PREMIUM Himejieki-Minami is set in Himeji, 2.9 km from Himeji Castle and 33 km from Omiya Hachiman Shrine. This 2-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom. Miki History Museum is 33 km from the hotel and Miki City Horimitsu Art Museum is 33 km away. All guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a TV. HOTEL LiVEMAX PREMIUM Himejieki-Minami can conveniently provide information at the reception to help guests to get around the area. Miki Municipal Hardware Museum is 33 km from the accommodation, while The Ruins of Miki Castle is 33 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kobe Airport, 67 km from HOTEL LiVEMAX PREMIUM Himejieki-Minami.
      View on Booking.com
      7.9Booking.com
    • Himeji Castle Grandvrio Hotel
      Mid-range
      Re-opened in December 2014 after a thorough renovation, Castle Grandvrio Hotel is a 5-minute ride from JR Himeji Train Station on the free shuttle. It boasts public hot spring baths, hot tubs and relaxing massage services. Free WiFi is available in all areas. The simply furnished rooms at Himeji Castle Grandvrio Hotel offer a satellite TV and tea maker. All rooms are air-conditioned, and the en suite bathroom comes with a bathtub and shower. Himeji Castle is 2.5 km from the hotel, and Koko-en Garden is 1 km away. Himeji Art Museum is about a 15-minute drive. Free on-site parking is provided. A coin launderette and free-use internet stations are available. A buffet breakfast is served daily. Harima offers Japanese cuisine in a traditional setting. A Japanese-style pub and cafe are also available.
      View on Booking.com
      7.8Booking.com
    • Chisun Inn Himeji Yumesakibashi
      Mid-range
      Simply furnished rooms with a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and wood desk are provided at Chisun Sun Yumesakibashi, a 20-minute drive from Himeji Castle. A daily Japanese breakfast is offered. Guests at Chisun Inn Himeji Yumesakibashi can unwind with satellite channels or a video-on-demand movie. Slippers and a fridge are provided. The en suite bathroom includes a bath and amenities. Guests can choose from a selection of free amenities in the lobby. The hotel is a 15-minute drive from JR Himeji Train Station and a 20-minute drive from Himeji City Museum of Literature. It is 4 km from Himeji-Nishi Interchange (IC) on the Sanyo Expressway. Parking is free.
      View on Booking.com
      7.8Booking.com
    • Comfort Hotel Himeji
      Mid-range
      An 8-minute walk from JR Himeji Train Station, Comfort Hotel Himeji features free WiFi and guests can enjoy complimentary coffee and breakfast. Massages can be requested for additional charge. Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with an LCD TV, a small fridge and an attached bathroom with toiletries. The Himeji Comfort Hotel provides a launderette, while the reception is staffed around the clock. Parking is available at a charge. A daily buffet with warm and cold dishes is available free of charge at the lounge space, between 06:30 and 09:30. Guests can enjoy a variety of fresh breads and other Western and Japanese breakfast foods. Hotel Comfort Himeji is a 15-minute walk from both Himeji Castle and Koko-en Garden.
      View on Booking.com
      7.7Booking.com