This is continued from my previous post.
“Himeji castle & the Tsuyu – Preview”
We basically took the Shin-Kaisoku (S.Rapid) Train bound straight for Himeji.
Direct JR Special Rapid Trains take one hour for the one way trip between Osaka and Himeji.
People lining up for the next train.
And as mentioned previously. beautiful views of the Kansai countryside can be seen during the one hour journey.
Some scenic views here.
We’ve finally arrived in Himeji!
Himeji is a city located in Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan.
Himeji has been the center of Harima Province since Nara period.
After the Battle of Sekigahara, Ikeda Terumasa received a fief at Harima Province and established the Himeji Domain. He expanded the Himeji Castle and its castle town.
Originally a castle town, Himeji is home to the Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For over 400 years, Himeji Castle has remained intact, even throughout the extensive bombing of Himeji in World War II and natural disasters such as the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and various typhoons.
We’re on the bus and we’re reaching our destination real soon!
That would be, Himeji Castle!
Himeji Castle is widely considered Japan’s most spectacular and beautiful castle.
Unlike many other Japanese castles, Himeji Castle was never destroyed in wars, earthquakes or fires and survives in its original form.
It is both a national treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Himeji Castle is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defense and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period.
It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.
A masterpiece of wooden construction and the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle, it preserves all its significant features.
The castle is also a powerful and evocative symbol of the feudalism that prevailed in Japan until the Meiji restoration of 1868.
Himeji is situated at an important communications center and as a result the regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a castle there in the closing years of the 16th century, part of the network of such fortresses that he created all over Japan to ensure its continued unification.
The first castle was destroyed by Ikeda Terumasa , who became the feudal lord of the area under the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1600, but he quickly erected a new fortress, most of which survived to the present day.
Himeji Castle comprised two concentric enclosures defined by walls and moats, containing keeps and turrets as well as residences for his Samurai. Part of the west bailey, known as “Nishi-no-Maru” was remodeled by Tadamasa Honda, lord of the castle in 1617.
It was re-modeled as quarters for his wife, the daughter of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. It remained the center of this feudal domain for 270 years and a town grew up around it.
With the end of the shogunate and the restoration of the Meiji dynasty in 1868, Himeji Castle was taken over by the new government as a military establishment, when part of the west bailey and the samurai houses were demolished and replaced by military structures.
Unlike many other feudal castles in Japan, Himeji Castle was preserved in its original form, thanks to the intervention of army officers such as Colonel Nakamura Shigeto, and it was given protection under successive monuments protection acts.
In 1945 the military facilities in and around the castle were demolished and replaced by public buildings for official use. The inner buildings were, however, not touched and retained their 17th-century form. Himeji Castle is an archetypal early 17th-century castle complex in design and layout, comprising 83 buildings in all.
Only the east gate of one section of the second bailey survives from the castle built by Hideyoshi; the remainder dates from 1601-1609, plus the towers of Nishi-no-Maru.
The center of the complex is the Tenshu-gun, consisting of a main keep and three subsidiary keeps, with connecting structures. This is surrounded by a system of watchtowers, gates and plastered earthen walls. Set on a low hill, it is visible from every part of the city.
The main keep – “Dai-Tenshu” has six interior storeys and a basement. The main access is from the south-west, through a covered corridor.
The striking appearance of this great wooden structure with its white plastered walls is the source of the name by which it is often known, the Castle of the White Heron.
(Unfortunately, the castle is going through restoration works and will only completed by the end of march 2015.)
Alternative castle destinations during Himeji’s renovation include Hikone Castle, not too far from Kyoto. While it’s castle keep is much smaller than Himeji’s, Hikone Castle is also original with a wooden interior, impressive walls and moats and an interesting approach.
This is the link to my previous post on Hikone Castle.
And here are links to my previous entries on Kyoto.
Many castles were built in Japan in the early years of the shogun period.
Most of these have subsequently been demolished and others were destroyed during the Second World War. Of the handful that survives, Himeji Castle is the most complete and unaltered, largely thanks to the efforts of army officers after the Meiji restoration.
The conservation work between 1934 and 1964 was carried out using the advanced techniques developed in Japan for large wooden structures and in conformity with established principles of authenticity in design, materials, techniques, and environment.
Kokoen is a recently constructed Japanese style garden, which was opened in 1992 on the former site of of the feudal lords’ west residence – “Nishi-Oyashiki”.
It consists of nine separate gardens designed in various garden styles of the Edo period.
Among the gardens are the garden of the lord’s residence which features a pond with a waterfall, a tea garden where visitors can enjoy green tea in a tea ceremony house, a pine tree garden, a bamboo garden and a flower garden.
Unfortunately, the crazy rain ruined everything!
I went googoo-gaga over this!
Here are more pictures of the Castle’s keep.
I’m an avid collector of Katanas and boy o boy…
I would love to add this beauty to my collection! 😉
Tadamasa Honda wife, daughter of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu = Princess.
This is her keep.
And the view from her keep.
Artifacts on display.
They’re really well preserved!
Castle grounds and map of compound.
More pictures below!
Views from the top, below.
(Don’t mind the pun!~)
And finally, this is where we decided to have our dinner!
Even more pictures that were taken throughout the day!
(I hope I don’t bore you with my photo-bombing!)
Even though the rain was horrible, we didn’t let it get to us!
Had a really great day!
Please do visit Himeji one day, should you get the opportunity to do so.
I’m really sure that’ll you love it here!
Well..Thanks for reading and i sincerely hope that the info here helped!
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