Himeji castle air show jets Japan

Japan: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Date: 25th March, 2015

I arrived in Himeji city yesterday and I woke up today freezing just as much as I was yesterday night before going to bed. It was bloody cold! I got out of my capsule bed, brushed my teeth in ice cold water and had my breakfast.

Traffic crossing Himeji City Japan
I wanted to finish seeing Himeji Castle as early as possible and leave Himeji city by noon
Himeji directions sign Japan
There were a lot of people heading towards the castle. Himeji Castle is the biggest attraction of this city.
Himeji castle bridge Japan
Himeji Castle is also the biggest castle in Japan
Seating grounds Himeji castle Japan
They had set up chairs on the ground and I saw banners for some sort of event by the Japan Airforce
Walking to Himeji castle Japan
I walked to the ticket counter
Entrance Himeji castle Japan
After paying the 400 yen entrance fee, I entered the castle grounds
Himeji castle map Japan
Himeji Castle is over 400 years old
Himeji Castle main tower Japan
But I was devastated to learn at the ticket counter that the main tower has been under restoration for quite some time and is off limits to visitors!

Himeji castle long corridor
Disappointed, I walked to the outer section of the castle first
Inside long corridor Himeji castle
Inside were some rooms and artifacts on display
Inside Himeji Castle hall
I took out my GoPro
Rooms Himeji Castle Japan
Some rooms were off limits
Himeji Castle ancient rooms Japan
Some rooms were not
Tiles used in Himeji Castle
They had boards showcasing the effort gone into restoring Himeji Castle while maintaining its unique architecture
Videos tourists Himeji Castle
Videos of the restoration work were showed as well
Stencil sketch Himeji Castle
They had stencil artwork you could sketch and take home with you
Princess room Himeji Castle
Mannequins depicting the princess room
Corrido Himeji castle Japan
Most of the corridor showcased old photographs, ancient artifacts, and footage from the restoration work. Nothing really special.
Himeji castle panorama Japan
Back out, I decided to walk towards to the main tower but then I heard the crowd exclaim and look up to the sky
Fighter jet Himeji Japan
It was a fighter jet!
Fighter Jet air show Himeji Japan
The special event was an airshow!
Jet air show Himeji Japan
Wasn’t expecting it but hey, I’ll take it!
Himeji castle air show Japan
I swapped lenses in & out to capture what I could
Japan airforce air show formation
There were 6 of them in total. They are a squad called Blue Impulse, part of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Air show Japan airforce stunt
They were doing all sorts of formations
Himeji air show jet formation Japan
It was all pretty cool
Himeji castle air show jets Japan
Especially when the jets flew over Himeji castle

Here’s a video I took on my phone:

Himeji castle Japan
Still, pretty white castle I came all the way for and I couldn’t go inside it
Mithun Divakaran Himeji castle Japan
I asked a fellow tourist to take a photo of me
Himeji castle sakura season Japan
With the airshow over, I walked towards the Main Keep anyway
Shachi Himeji castle Japan
En route were more displays
Tile cross Himeji castle
Himeji Castle incorporates elements of Christianity
Main keep gate Himeji castle Japan
I still saw many visitors walking towards the main tower
Himeji castle main keep Japan
But I along with many others were stopped at this point, saying our regular tickets didn’t allow us to go any further

When I asked the staff member why others were still proceeding towards the main keep, she told me that they had special passes which gave them early access to a preview of the main keep before it officially re-opened to public. I ask when the re-opening was. She said: “Day after tomorrow”.

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Had I known this in advance, I would have re-arranged my dates but there was nothing I could do now. I had no intention of staying in Himeji another night. I asked if there was any way of getting the special passes but the staff member said it was by invitation only. Which I found odd considering I saw a few Chinese tourists, locals and the odd ‘white man’ walk through. I wondered where they got those passes from. Oh well.

Himeji Castle tower Japan
All I could do was take a close up shot of the main tower… from the outside

Disappointed, I decided it was time to leave. There was not much else to see or do here.

Himeji castle panorama Japan
I took a panorama from the grounds where seats were laid out for dignitaries
Main keep Himeji castle Japan
The final shot

Coming all the way to Himeji just to see the castle… and not being able to see the main tower… and that too knowing that it would re-open in just two days from today… was just… ugh.

I thought about the shinkansen fare to Himeji, sleeping in 2 degree cold, and add to that the feeling I should have stayed in Kyoto longer… oh well, past is past. Time to move on.

I went back to Himeji 588 Guesthouse, packed up my things and took my suitcase down as I had to check out. I still felt like seeing something more as my Himeji sightseeing experience was left with a huge void. I decided to visit a soju factory not too far from the JR station, but that and my shinkansen ride back to Tokyo are in the next post.


Next posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo β€” and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku β€” views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji β€” and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport β€” and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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