[Himeji City] “Special Summer Opening of World Heritage and National Treasure Himeji Castle” Himeji Castle will be hot in the summer of 2023!

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Himeji Castle will be opening six non-public areas to the public in December 2023, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of its registration as a World Heritage Site and the holding of the "Hyogo Destination Campaign." Coupled with the special release scheduled for this winter, this is a year of ...

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Himeji Castle 2023 Summer Special Opening

Himeji Castle, a world cultural heritage site and national treasure, is usually closed to the public. For that reason, many people are probably looking forward to the special release of private areas. In particular, during the special opening in the summer of 2023, as many as six non-public areas will be opened to the public at the same time. This is the first large-scale special public exhibition in 14 years, since 2009 before the Heisei era renovation. (*Currently closed.)

↑Photographed from the west side of Shirotopia Memorial Park, near Shimizumon Bridge. View of the three small castle towers<br>
↑Photographed from the west side of Shirotopia Memorial Park, near Shimizumon Bridge. View of the three small castle towers

The contents include the Important Cultural Property ``Orimawari Yagura'' (including the adjacent Bizen Gate), whose preservation and repair work was just completed this spring, ``I no Watari Yagura'', ``Higashi Kotoshu'', and ``Ro no Watari Yagura''. ”, “Inui Small Castle”, and “Ha-no-Watari Yagura” are five national treasures. Furthermore, the National Treasure "West Small Castle Tower" is scheduled to be opened to the public for the first time this winter (February 1st to February 29th, 2024), so this is a great year to see all three small castle towers in summer and winter. is.

Let's take a look at the insides of the "Higashi-ko Tenshu" and "Inui-ko Tenshu" during the special summer exhibition, and wait for the arrival of winter. By the way, the sizes of the small castle towers are ``Inui Small Castle,'' ``West Small Castle,'' and ``East Small Castle,'' starting from the largest, and the interior appearance is also different, so I'm looking forward to it.

The ticket for the non-public area (enter the castle with a regular admission ticket and then register for special public viewing in front of the non-public area) is a 30th anniversary ticket and uses a design from around 1933.<br>
The ticket for the non-public area (enter the castle with a regular admission ticket and then register for special public viewing in front of the non-public area) is a 30th anniversary ticket and uses a design from around 1933.

A brief introduction to the special public areas of Himeji Castle in the summer of 2023

↑Enter “I no Watari Yagura” from the main tower and go to the 2nd floor<br>
↑Enter “I no Watari Yagura” from the main tower and go to the 2nd floor

The route is to finish viewing the large castle tower, which is normally open to the public, and then move on to the special public area. Himeji Castle has three small castle towers connected by a turret turret, which is called a multi-castle castle tower. From here, let me introduce you along the way.

① “I no Watari Yagura” (National Treasure)

This is a turret that connects the "Big Tenshu" and the "Higashi Small Tenshu." This is Watari Yagura, which has one floor underground and two floors above ground. There is something like a small stage on the second floor, but it is not a stage. Please visit and think about what the shape is for.

What you definitely want to see is the view of the courtyard. You can see the large castle tower on the left, the Inui small castle tower in front, and the Ro no Watari turret on the right. What you can see on the lower first floor of the Inui small castle tower is the kitchen turret.

② “Higashikotenshu” (National Treasure) (Photo provided by Himeji City)

(Photo provided by Himeji City)<br>
(Photo provided by Himeji City)

It has one floor underground and three floors above ground, but it is a small castle tower with a simple structure, with a watchtower (watchtower) on top of the two-story turret. There is a staggered gable on the north side of the top floor, which can be seen from the inside.

③ “Ro no Watari Yagura” (National Treasure)

This is a turret with 1 floor underground and 2 floors above ground that connects ``Higashi-ko Tenshu'' and ``Inui-ko Tenshu.'' This turret is often used as a filming location for movies. At approximately 28.7 meters long and 5.9 meters wide, it is one of the largest existing watariyagura.

3 highlights

There are three highlights.

One is the lattice window on the right side of the photo (outside), which is made of durable wood with an iron plate covered with white plaster. When you close the window, a gap appears, allowing you to attack while avoiding enemy attacks.

The second thing is the tool rack hanging on the wall. Bamboo nails that break easily are used. This is so that you can remove the weapon just by pulling it.

The third one is the floor. Planes made about 400 years ago use a technique called chounahatsuri, which creates patterns on the surface that resemble fish scales. There are still boards made using this technique.

④“Inui Kotenshu” (National Treasure)

It is the largest and most graceful of the three small castle towers, and is five stories high with one underground floor and four above ground floors.

You can see the outline of the firelight window (Kato window) even from inside. The main difference from other small castle towers is that there are windows on all four sides. Other small castle towers do not have windows on the inside (on the tower side). There are no bars on the windows, so it is dangerous to lean over them.

⑤ “Ha no Watari Yagura” (National Treasure)

(Photo provided by Himeji City)<br>
(Photo provided by Himeji City)

It is a Watari turret that connects the ``Inui small castle tower'' and ``West small castle tower'' in the basement, and has 1 floor underground and 2 floors above ground. It plays the role of being the last stronghold to repel enemies approaching the castle tower. In the winter of 2023, the door to the "West Small Castle Keep" is scheduled to open from here. I'm looking forward to it.

I went out from the small castle tower group and headed for Bizenmaru. This is a place where the beauty of the tower tower stands out. What is shown in the photo is the "Inui Small Castle Tower" on the left and the "West Small Castle Tower" in the foreground. Since there are small castle towers surrounding the large castle tower, the scenery you can see from there is naturally different. What is the view like from the west small castle tower? What kind of scenery could we see when Terumasa Ikeda's palace was located here on Bizenmaru? I'm looking forward to the special winter release.

You can see the Bizen Gate in the back of the photo. It is connected to the 6th building, ``Orimawari Yagura'', which is specially opened to the public.

⑥“Oremawari Yagura” (Important Cultural Property)

The palace in Bizenmaru was burnt down in 1882 (Meiji 15). At this time, the turrets surrounding Bizenmaru were also burnt down.

What remained partially burnt was the ``Orimawari Yagura.'' Originally, there was a turret along the stone wall of the large castle tower, and together with the existing turret part, it was called the ``orimawari turret.'' Adjacent to it is the Bizen Gate.

It was previously opened to the public in 2019, but this will be the first time it has been shown to the public after conservation and repair work, which was scheduled to take place until spring 2023, has been completed. The second floor of the two-story building is different from the small castle tower and watariyagura that we have seen so far, and one of the three rooms has a pole-edge ceiling, a tea ceremony furnace, shoji and sliding doors, and pillars with hidden nails. If you look closely, you will notice that there is a gun gap, which is an unusual structure with iron bars.

↑View of “He-no-mon” from “Orimawari Yagura”<br>
↑View of “He-no-mon” from “Orimawari Yagura”

The highlight is the ``orimawari turret'' that covers the entire second floor, but the Osagoushi window is a must-see. The outside can be clearly seen from inside the room, but from the outside it is hidden by a lattice window for surveillance purposes.

↑View from the second floor of “Bizenmon”<br>
↑View from the second floor of “Bizenmon”

The east side is connected to Bizenmon Gate and also serves as a defense base.

There is also a hidden stone drop, so be sure to check from below when passing through the Bizen Gate on your way home.

Don't miss out on the unique Himeji Castle!

After touring the inside during the special public exhibition, wouldn't you want to see the small castle tower from the outside as well? The photo was taken from near Senkantei, a toilet and rest area in Shirotopia Memorial Park north of Himeji Castle. You can clearly see the east small castle tower and the inui small castle tower with the firelight window. If you want to enjoy the area around Himeji Castle, we recommend the Himeji Castle Loop Bus.

The photo above was taken right near the "Shimizu-bashi (Bungakukan-mae)" bus stop. In addition, in front of this bus stop, the well and its house have been restored, where the famous water called ``Sagi no Shimizu'' came out.

Himeji Castle is visited by many people eagerly awaiting its special opening. The summer of 2023 will be the 30th anniversary of its registration as a World Cultural Heritage Site and the "Hyogo Destination Campaign", so it looks like it will be a hotter summer than usual. During the period, the ``Special Edition Castle EXPO in Himeji'' will be held at Acrie Himeji from Saturday, September 16th to Monday, September 18th (holiday), attracting castle fans from all over the country.

During the special winter exhibition from February 1st (Thursday) to February 29th (Thursday), 2024, the "West Small Castle Tower" will finally be shown to the public for the first time. If you want to enjoy sightseeing in Himeji Castle, we also recommend visiting the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History. The permanent exhibition will give you a good idea of ​​Himeji Castle and the Harima area. The location is right next to the ``Hakubutsukan-mae'' bus stop on the Himeji Castle loop bus.

[Himeji] A museum you’ll want to visit together “Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History”

↓ Please refer to this article for information on Himeji Castle souvenirs. Introducing castle stamps and Himeji Castle shop limited products.

Himeji Castle seal has a 2023 design! Introducing them along with limited goods available at the castle shop!

(Writer Takashi Tsukamoto)

*This article is information as of August 2023. Prices include tax. Product contents and prices may change.

Other useful information you may want to know

This ticket is recommended for those who are considering touring around Kobe and Hyogo prefectures in addition to Himeji Castle! This is a mobile ticket that allows you to ride unlimited Shinki Bus route buses + Kobe City Loop/Port Loop for 1,000 yen a day. *Limited to foreign visitors tourists visiting Japan

Click here for purchase and details of Hyogo Amazing Pass

This is a digital ticket that allows you to ride the Shinki Bus/Wing Shinki route bus in the Nishi-Harima area (route buses that operate in the central Nishi-Harima area), Ako sightseeing tour bus, and community buses for one day.

Click here for details and to purchase unlimited ride tickets for the Nishi-Harima area.

Basic information

World Heritage Site/National Treasure Himeji Castle

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture

Contact: 079-285-1146

Opening hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (gates close at 17:00)

Access: Approximately 20 minutes walk from JR Himeji Station or Sanyo Himeji Station Take the Shinki Bus from the north exit of Himeji Station, get off at Otemon-mae, and walk for about 5 minutes.By Himeji Castle Loop Bus, get off at Himeji Castle Otemon-mae and walk about 3 minutes. minutes

Parking: Use nearby parking lots

HP: https://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/castle/

SNS: Instagram

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