Ever since we moved to Japan, Himeji castle has been under renovation, a huge tarpaulin covered most of the castle. It was finally completed this year and officially opened in March. We visited in Golden Week when there was some kind of festival being held.
We took could take a JR train from Osaka Stn straight to Himeji, it didnt take too long, or cost too much, but when we arrived it was a bit rainy and grey.
Actually when I took my camera out I found it had no SD card!!!! So I was forced to buy one at the convenience store.
Approching the castle there were lots of people and a parade going on, we stopped to watch for a while.
Then went into the castle grounds.
Oooh pretty. Ive seen a lot of castles in Japan (Nijo, Matsuyama, Nagoya, Okayama, Shuri, Gifu…) and I live pretty close to Osaka Castle but this castle still impressed me.
We followed around to go inside the castle….hmm…a three hour line you say…no thanks.
Instead we walked around the garden and back into the main area infront of the castle where a stage was set up.
The same people from the parade were doing a demonstration! Walking out we found some festival stalls, kids amusement area and some people dressed up.
He did a battle re-enactment but we missed it! So sad.
We sat and watched some of the other people though.
I bumped into Grace and her bfrnd!!! Sadly forgot a picture but was nice to see her! She said that they had waited to go into the castle itself and it hadn’t been worth the long wait.
To leave the castle grounds we were directed through Himeji City Zoo which was free to enter that day. Most of the enclosures were small and it was sad to see, the red pandas seemed well loved though.
Hes a contented family man now.
We went to the park next door to see the Japanese Garden, it was pretty but not overly spectauclar, we had some tea and sweets in the tea room.
Served by local school kids learning tea ceremony.
Leaving the place it started to rain pretty hard, we took shelter under a large tree and people watched, hoping it would calm down before walking to the station and going home.
I hope to go again before I leave in Japan and go inside!