Series: Touring the castles of Japan (Kansai area)
A great number of castles once existed throughout Japan. Many of the towns that surrounded the castles at the time have become today’s popular sightseeing spots. Here, we introduce you to Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, Hyogo Prefecture’s Himeji Castle, and Shiga Prefecture’s Hikone Castle—famous castles in the Kansai area that you don’t want to miss!
A magnificent castle that witnessed a whole era—Motorikyu Nijo Castle (Kyoto)
Nijo Castle is a World Heritage, with its palace a spectacular view even to this day. Constructed in 1603 by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Nijo Castle played an important role at the start of, and also at the end of the 300-year Edo Period. Ninomaru Palace is a national treasure, and its large hall still has the gorgeous murals and ceilings that were painted by Kano school, a renowned painters’ faction. The gardens of the castle show us a refined elegance in different ways for each of the four seasons, which are quite impressive.
●Motorikyu Nijo Castle
●075-841-0096 ●541 Nijojo-cho, Horikawa-nishiiru, Nijo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City
●8:45-16:00, Ninomaru Palace 9:00-16:00
●closed on year-end and new year’s holidays ※for information on the dates closed, please contact the office
As elegant as a white heron dancing in the sky—Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
Also known as Hakuro (white heron) Castle because of the shining white color of its castle tower, Himeji Castle was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1993, and is praised as the most magnificent surviving castle in Japan. The castle tower is beautifully decorated from season to season by cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, and when lit up, it stands out in the darkness, which is a must-see. You can still see the many devices in the castle that were used in battles. They make you feel the vestiges of the age of civil wars.
●079-285-1146 (Himeji Castle management office) ●68 Hommachi, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture
●9:00-16:00, 9:00-17:00 (April 27 thru August 31) ●Closed on December 29 & 30
A large part still in its original form and enjoying a new found popularity—Hikone Castle (Shiga Prefecture)
Starting in 1604, this castle was built during a span of 20 years, and still keeps its original form to this day. Enjoy a ride touring along the moat in a roofed pleasure boat, a reproduction of a boat that is said to have been used by a feudal lord back in the days. Hikone Castle is also a popular place where you can meet a widely-loved cat-like mascot named “Hikonyan” every day.
●1-1, Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture ●0749-22-2742 (Hikone Castle management office)
●8:30-17:00 ●Open throughout the year
●600 yen, boat ride along the Hikone Castle moat: 1,300 yen
※The above information was last updated October 18, 2016. Please directly contact the facility for further details.
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