MARCH 12, 2017
Our 2nd daytrip was in Himeji, almost 2 hours away from Osaka by train. From Himeji Station, we rode the Himeji Castle Loop Bus which looked like an old-fashioned bus.
Our main stop here was the famous HIMEJI CASTLE (UNESCO), which is also known as “shirasagi-jo” or “white heron castle”.
It was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century and during our visit, a portion of the castle was undergoing restoration – goes to show how Japan highly values their history and puts great effort in preserving this.
What was interesting for me during our visit was whichever area we were in the castle grounds, we could always clearly see the castle. Before going to the main keep, we explored the other areas nearby including a long passageway.
Inside the main keep, we climbed 6 floors. This was not the only challenge as the staircases were narrow and steep so if you have kids with you, better be careful in climbing those stairs. At the topmost floor, there was a small shrine where the local visitors all paid respect and prayed for a short while. Aside from this, we were also able to see the spectacular view of the city and the maze-like layout of the castle.
Before leaving, I was trying to look for a magnet that had its cute “mascot” as the design. Unfortunately, there was none so I decided to just buy the coin-like souvenir with しろまる姫 (Shiromaru-hime).
We went to KOKOEN GARDEN afterwards, which was just a few blocks away from the castle. The ticket we bought included admission for the castle and this garden. We were lucky because there were some flowers that had already bloomed but I bet that it would look even better during springtime.
We were supposed to visit Mount Shosha but given the time we finished the garden, we decided to go back to Osaka so that we still had time to visit ONE PIECE MUGIWARA STORE. I only bought two small boxes of keychain with random characters since I could not find any Zoro goodie that I liked. I was sooo lucky that one of the boxes had Zoro in his Film Gold costume! (Note that a few days after this, M told me that Den-den Town stores were better since he was able to buy the ship that was out-of-stock in OP Mugiwara Store.)
Since we did not have the energy to go far from our Airbnb, we bought dinner at MCDONALD’S and tried some of the sakura-themed items. I had the fries and soda for this but I bought a regular cheeseburger. The fries was yummy at first but I found it to be too salty later on. I guess I shouldn’t have poured all the powder… The sakura float tasted like medicine so good thing I bought an apple-flavored alcohol beverage, which was a good pair with my food.
Next day’s adventure is Nara (including deer), yay!
LINKS TO OTHER KANSAI REGION / JAPAN 2017 POSTS:
Japan, Day 0-1: Kyoto (Higashiyama Area)
Japan, Day 2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)
Japan, Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi, Northern Higashiyama)
Japan, Day 4: Kyoto (Central & Downtown)
Japan, Day 9: Universal Studios