Himeji-Jo in Japan

Posing in front of one of the most amazing structures I've ever laid eyes on: Himeji-Jo

Posing in front of one of the most amazing structures I’ve ever laid eyes on: Himeji-Jo

Japan is one of the most wondrous countries I’ve been to. The food is great, the people are very polite and fashionable, trains are always on time, beer is sold out of vending machines, neon signs overwhelm your eyeballs, tattoos are still taboo, and beauty is everywhere. It’s a crazy, spectacular, mind-boggling island that would take at least 30 adjectives to even come close to accurately describing it.

I was in Japan for about three weeks back in 2006, and the whole trip was a whirlwind of amazement. My jaw was probably left hanging open the entire time. I hope I wasn’t drooling. It was the first time I had been to a non-Spanish speaking country, but luckily I had taken a few months of Japanese and knew how to hold basic, probably first grade level conversation. Still, it was the first time in a long time that I experienced culture shock, and it was fabulous.

My friend and I only went to the main island of Honshu, but the variety of nature, city life, temples, animals, and culture was completely astounding. While Kyoto was filled with beautiful, ancient temples, I was most impressed by Himeji-Jo, or Himeji Castle. Dating back to 1333, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been taken apart, rebuilt, remodeled, and expanded upon, but never destroyed. The architecture is considered prototypical for Japanese castles, and it is absolutely magical. There are six floors of winding stairs, living quarters, artillery, and sneaky modes of defense, as the castle served as a military base over the centuries. Gorgeous Japanese art, weapons, garments, and maps on display take you through the ages as different emperors changed ownership.

Himeji-Jo is located on a hilltop in the southern part of Honshu, about three hours northeast of Hiroshima. Even if you aren’t planning on visiting Hiroshima, it is very much worth the train ride from Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka.

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3 thoughts on “Himeji-Jo in Japan

  1. Duke Stewart says:

    Cristina,

    Himeji is one of the most beautiful castles I’ve ever laid eyes on and upon seeing your post, I knew exactly what you’re talking about. It’s totally wonderful and worth a million word-description, etc etc. I could go on.

    I’ve never actually stopped by and had a visit but oh man, what a wonderful minute that would be if I did. My first memories of Himeji were during a long train ride from Tokyo to Hiroshima with my mom in 2007. Interesting that you were there just a year before! My have the years gone by that fast?

    Anyway, we were zooming along on the Shinkansen and bam, it just sort of jumped out at me and that moment has been in my mind ever since. It looked huge from the train but seeing your ant-like appearance next to it just makes me say “WOW!” It’s just so big, and now I want to see it even more.

    I’m totally jealous of my friend who’s been living there a while. He’s probably sick of me telling him that, haha!

    Thanks for sharing this, Cristina. It was worth the revisit and a necessary look back at my time in Japan. Looks like yours was worthwhile as well☺

    Like

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