Journeys and Travels have been seeing the famous Himeji Castle on national TV in the Philippines about a segment sponsored by JICA. It is one famous winter castle of the Japanese Imperial family located in Himeji, in the Hyōgo Prefecture. Known as the “White Egret Castle”, it has 83 buildings with advanced defensive system. It is also called the “White Heron” Castle because its sheer architectural design resembles that of a bird on flight.
The Himeji Castle dates back to as far back as 1333. It is considered to be the most visited castle in all of Japan and in 1993, it was registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Their experience while going there was hilariously unexpected. They arrived at the train station in Himeji and while looking at their watches, it was 3.45pm. Journeys and Travels asked the cab driver if the one they are seeing from afar is the Himeji Castle, he said yes and responded that it closes at 4pm. Even with so much anticipation and restraint on their part because they decided at first not to take a cab in Japan, they took it and the driver took them to the castle exterior gates in time but they have to run to get to the ticket booths for them to buy their entrance fee.
Journeys and Travels along with his Swiss friends Diego and Cornel, took fancy at the grand architectural design of the castle. Diego, being an Architect in Switzerland was more fascinated in the structure and the designs of the castle. He told us about one famous Japanese architect he presently adored, Tadao Ando.
While at the castle grounds, they took no time to waste and started climbing the first landing only to be reprimanded by the old lady that they must remove our shoes. They were given white plastic bags for their shoes and then toured the Himeji Castle until they reach the shrine on top of the castle.
On their way down the castle, they come across a dear friend from the Philippines, 16 year old UP Diliman Summan Cum Laude for Physics Mikaela Irene Fudolig. A day before their Himeji Castle sightseeing, Journeys and Travels was the Chair of the Academic Session where Irene Fudoli presented her paper before attendees of the Asian Conference on Education.
Journeys and Travels and his Swiss friends’ trip to Himeji Castle is one full of warm experiences. The only thing is that they had been handicapped with time. After their tour of the castle, they went back to Osaka on a funny experience yet again for they are lost. They took the wrong train going home!