Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered the most complete and best preserved castle in Japan. It is known as the white egret castle due to its shape. The Main Keep was completed in 1609 and has seven floors. Climb up from the basement to the top floor. Peek through the windows as you climb higher to see wonderful views of Himeji and beyond. Notice the tiles and the massive stone boulders wind their way across the landscape. There are 997 different shaped openings in the walls of the keep, to shoot arrows and guns from. The latticed white windows prevent shots from entering the keep. Surprisingly, on the top floor is a shrine. Himeji Castle’s history and architectural design are remarkable.
Nine uniquely landscaped gardens make up the Kokoen Garden. Created recently in 1992, it displays a wide range of Japanese horticulture. The first garden is the largest and a tranquil delight. Cross the stone bridge over the pond and see large colourful carp swim by. Behind are playful stepping stones and a collection of bonsai trees. Wander through the other gardens, including the Tea Ceremony Garden, Garden of Pine Trees and Garden of Flowers. Kokoen Garden is a refreshing haven of botanical beauty.