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Himeji Sights and Landmarks Guide, Japan

Himeji is a town in the western part of the Kansai region, not far from Osaka, and only about three hours away from Tokyo. Small as it may be, Himeji is home to Japan’s most famous historical sites. The magnificent castle at Himeji is a World Heritage Site, but there are many other tourist attractions in the city. Himeji has an exceptionally rich history reminiscent of ancient Japanese folktales of samurai, so it’s no surprise that most of the tourist attractions in the city date back to the fascinating Japanese Middle Ages. This Himeji Sights Guide will point out all the must-see attractions of this beautiful city.

Himeji Sights Guide - Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is definitely the most important and the most breath-taking of all the sights in Himeji. This monument is probably the most famous historical site in Japan, and thousands of Japanese and foreign tourists come to Himeji to visit this amazing medieval building. Himeji Castle was originally built in 1346 by the Akamatsu clan, but subsequent occupants, such as the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi, expanded the complex with new buildings. The castle complex is now made up of over 80 buildings, and for a long time it was the largest castle in Asia. Himeji castle the finest example of Japanese medieval architecture. One of the unique traits of the castle is the maze of paths that lead to the main building. The role of this maze was to make it harder for attackers to reach the main entrance.

Himeji Sights Guide- Parks and Shrines

Kōkoen Garden, close to Himeji Castle, was built to commemorate the city’s 100 year anniversary. The garden was designed in an Edo-period style, and it is a favorite walking area for locals and visitors alike. Senhime Shrine is a rather small but very elegant shrine, perched high on top of a long flight of stairs revealing a spectacular view of Himeji Castle. Engyo-ji Temple is the largest and most beautiful shrine of the city, but the temple has risen to international fame after being used as a filming location for several historical films. The temple is surrounded by a maple forest, so this Himeji Sights Guide recommends that you visit the place in autumn, when the leaves change color and the shrine looks particularly beautiful. Karoyashiki Ato Park is a cross between a park and a museum. The complex is a reproduction of Edo-period samurai residences, complete with streets and even beautiful decorated traditional restaurants.

Himeji Sights Guide - Museums

The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History is the best place to learn more about the history of the prefecture. You can see replicas of Japan’s castles, art galleries and interesting displays dedicated to Japanese festivals. Himeji City Museum of Literature is another interesting place to visit. The museum’s building is a beautiful piece of modern architecture designed by Tadao Ando, and it houses exhibitions dedicated to Japan’s most famous writers, but also to some local artists.

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