Himeji Hanami

2010 April 1
by Joshua Zimmerman

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Himeji Castle is awesome. Just awesome. After you see Himeji every other castle in Japan will look dull. It’s a must see when in the Kansai area. If you can get in that is.

On our little “Goodbye Japan” Kansai trip we made a stop in Himeji. I was worried. Big time. Himeji is always a bit crowded. But this is cherry blossom season, which means the places is insane.

We arrived around 10 am. The entire city was set up in preparation for massive amounts of people. Signs were up. Orange cones and makeshift plastic fences were set up. The only thing lacking was the crowd.

The castle was just as stunning as ever. The entire courtyard played host to little hanami parties under the cherry blossom trees. Trees which were only half in bloom, which explained why it wasn’t too crazy.

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We didn’t have to wait to get into the main part of the castle, but did have a short wait to get to the top of the keep. The lines were moving fast, and everywhere people were taking photos.

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Too bad the sky was so cloudy and grey. Otherwise it would have been a perfect picture taking day.

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On our way out we around 1 pm we saw that there was a massive influx of people. Signs said that there was at least a one hour wait to get into the main part of the castle, and from the looks of it, the wait was only going to increase. I’m sure glad we got there early.

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