Although the city of Himeji was heavily bombed in 1945 their castle survived intact- apparently a firebomb did land on the top floor of the castle but failed to go off.  The castle is meant to resemble a white heron taking off but it was difficult to see the resemblance as a huge temporary structure was completely covering it in order to carry our restoration work. Oh well!

What was interesting is that they allowed access to view the restoration work.

Tours were still available to the lower floors, with some great war armor on show.

Not far away was on the opposite hillside sat the Himeji City Museum of Literature. It was built in 1991 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Himeji City becoming a municipality. It displays written material relating to 9 philosophers from the region and consists of 3 buildings, 2 of which were designed by Tadoa Ando in 1991 & 1996 – the third is an existing traditional tearoom pavilion.

The buildings were joined together by a rather clumsy landscape.

How to visit

Below is the map I used to navigate myself around Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Awaji Island and Himeji (map is centred here). This map lists and illustrates each place I visited.

View Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Awaji and Himeji in a larger map

Kyoto and Himeji are connected with each other by the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. Nozomi trains require about 45 minutes to reach Himeji Station from Kyoto, while direct hikari trains require roughly 55 minutes.

Himeji Castle:
From Himeji Station, the castle can be reached in a 15-20 minute walk or 5 minute bus or taxi ride along the broad Otemae-dori Street, which leads straight from the station to the castle.

Himeji City Museum of Literature:
The museum is a straightforward 10 minute walk heading west from Himeji Castle, check their website regarding opening times.