Unlike most Japanese Castles, which have been reconstructed with concrete, Himeji Castle is still made out of wood – one of the reasons it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Right now the main keep is undergoing renovations and can’t be visited. It’s already been like this two years ago, so we didn’t bother to visit then. It’ll be at least two more years till they are finished, but we went to visit the castle and the city of Himeji anyway, so we don’t miss the chance to see at least the bit we can.
With the main keep under a giant cover block, the mood was a bit killed. But the gardens are beautiful and we could walk through the West Bailey – which was also home to Senhime – that gave us an idea of how amazing the castle must look. Combining a “new” white castle and the wonderful gardens with all those cherry trees one can imagine what kind of a battle field this will be at the Sakura blossoming time. Well, there would be more to tell, if it wasn’t… you get the idea.
One thing about the city itself was a bit irritating first. After we’ve been walking about 500m away from the station, we couldn’t remember seeing one vending machine. And yes indeed, there weren’t any to be seen around. For some reason there aren’t many on the main road. But of course, once you leave the main road you can find enough of them. Just for a moment we were suspecting we left the country without noticing.