Saturday, 4 June 2016

Himeji Castle, Sakura and Hello Kitty café


Himeji Castle
The day after my family and I went to Fushimi Inari Taisha, we hopped on the Shinkansen to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle. Himeji is the biggest original castle in Japan, I think, (Osaka castle is bigger, but it's made out of concrete whereas Himeji has been restored in the original style) and it's so impressive. They recently completed renovations, so the roof now is a super bright white. It's sooo photogenic!

How to get there:

You can get to Himeji on the Shinkansen or by normal JR train from Osaka. We took the Shinkansen because my family had the JR pass. It was my parents' and Lizzie's first time on the Shinkansen, and my Dad in particular was so impressed. I mean, they are impressive, so I guess I'll allow for some cringey behaviour ;)

Shinkansen

The first place we went to was the Café Miki x Hello Kitty Café! Of course, being a theme cafe, it was a little on the pricey side, but it was really worth it in my opinion because the food was all really cute and tasty! The only thing was, the music playing was completely inane.... All a part of the experience I guess. 

Hello Kitty Cafe Himeji

Hello Kitty cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe

Himeji Hello Kitty Cafe



After we ate, we headed over to the castle. Himeji castle isn't far from the station (actually, it's visible from the Shinkansen) and the walk there didn't take long. When we got there, the Sakura were just starting to bloom, which was exciting! I bet the castle is beautiful in full bloom. We did see plenty of Sakura while my family were here, which was lucky.

Like I mentioned before, Himeji castle is so photogenic! I'd really recommend a visit, if you can. Unlike some of the concrete replica castles I've been to, Himeji is made in the traditional style, which means inside is really nice too! The feel of the wood floors under your feet... The view from the top is also pretty nice :)

Another point to mention is that when I went the first time, it was so crowded! We spent basically an hour queuing up inside! But this time we barely had to wait at all. So I guess it just depends on how lucky you are.
Himeji Castle and Sakura

Himeji Sakura

Sakura

Sakura

Himeji Castle

Inside Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle Keep

Himeji Castle

Another place well worth visiting is the castle garden, Kokoen. When I went last time, we'd spent all our time queueing in the castle so we couldn't go, but it was so nice and peaceful! There was a huge Koi pond, and attractively manicured trees, and basically everything you could have wanted from a Japanese garden.

Kokoen Himeji

Kokoen

Koi fish Kokoen

Japanese garden Kokoen

Thanks for reading! 

Fancy some more castle posts? Check out:
Last time I went to Himeji// Hikone // Nijo// Hiroshima Castle // Iwakuni Castle 

-Amy xoxo
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