Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Himeji Castle (姫路城)

Himeji Castle (姫路城) is one of the largest surviving castles in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's definitely one of the best places for viewing Japanese castles up close, and is also surrounded by sakuras.

The castle was closed for over 5 years for renovations, which were finally completed in March 2015. The castle often draws large crowds, especially during sakura season and even more so now due to the long renovation.

Entry to the castle is ¥1000, however the main keep is limited to the first 10,000 visitors each day. You'll receive a pass for the main keep as you enter the castle, the pass is required to enter the main keep.


Line to enter the keep. Even on a rainy day it took 40 minutes.
On a sunny day the wait can be up to 3 hours as everyone is still coming to visit the newly renovated castle.

view from the top of the keep


shrine at the top floor of the keep

interior of the keep

the keep was only used for defense, not for every day living, so the interior is bare even by Japanese standards

living quarters along the castle wall


hallway along the wall


Getting there: Himeji Castle is 1.5 km north of the Himeji JR train station, just walk straight along the main road. There is also a sight seeing bus that will take you within 500 m of the castle for ¥100.
Fees: ¥1000 for adults / ¥300 for children.
There is also a ¥1040 combined Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden ticket (normal fee for the gardens is ¥300). The gardens is right next to the castle grounds and is worth a visit if you have time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kita-in Temple (喜多院) | Kawagoe (川越市), Japan

Kita-in Temple (喜多院) in Kawagoe

entrance to the temple

traditional dance



hanami

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kawagoe (川越市), Japan

Kawagoe (川越市) is a town just north of Tokyo where many buildings from the Edo period are still preserved today.
Getting there takes about 30 minutes on the Tobu Tojo Line express train from Ikebukero Station in Tokyo and costs 450 yen each way. However, a discounted round-trip ticket is available for only 700 yen. It's intended only for foreigners, though they didn't check passports when we purchased it.


Bell of Time (時の鐘 Toki no kane), built 350 years ago and still rings four times a day

Kawagoe Castle


interior hallway

Kawagoe Castle garden