Japan 2.0: Hello Kitty café… and the Himeji castle!

Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us

A new week a new Japan post stop to share, and this makes the 6th! Today we are taking the train to visit Himeji, where the uber-famous Hello Kitty Café is visited daily by thousands of tourists.

Ha! I’m just kidding! of course Himeji castle, a.k.a the White Heron, must be the most favorite landmark of the city which appears in every Japan’s top 10 list. In fact it’s otherwise, the city’s name is mostly (or should I better say only?) known after the castle since it was registered as a World Heritage site.

However, our story begins there, at that little quirky corner where a huge pink bow & kitty ears make the wonders of the Sanrio (kawaii) groupies just like me. Are you in the mood for the cutest bite?

Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us

When looking about what else we could add in our Himeji visit, the Hello Kitty café magically appeared in my radar. The minute I saw the cute door I knew it wouldn’t hurt us to make a little stop to have breakfast before going to the main event of the day. I fluttered my eyelashes at Dani and luckily he agreed. I have to admit that after showing him all the images, and specially the yummy looking sweets, he was maybe even more excited than I was. It’s not a big secret that Dani has a big sweet tooth.

From the station there is a big avenue that in a 10-minute walk takes you to the castle. It was funny to take a turn left to say “see you in a while” to the castle and the rest of visitors to take a slow breakfast at the café. We were the first guests of the café, and the girl who opened it was very amused by our devotion.

Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us Hello Kitty Café Himeji - The cat, you and us

After reading all the news about the Hello Kitty universe – she looks quite busy, let me tell you! *wink – we were ready to join the crowds at the castle. We received quite some warnings that the place is packed, but I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal, at least during regular season (Golden week must be a different story to tell). We bought the tickets right away, and although there is no denying about the popularity of the place, we were able to wander around at our own pace.

The castle grounds are spacious and let the castle itself make all the talking. The castle as we can see it today dates from the 17th century (when it was completely rebuilt), survived Meiji period, which is a feat taking into account that around 2000 (!) castles were wrecked during that time… and it’s definitely breathtaking. It had recently undergone a 5-year restoration, and everything is looking amazing, the pure white of its walls contrasting with the grey roofs and the fish gargoyle.

Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle grounds - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle tickets - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle warriors - The cat, you and us

A group of students dressed in Japanese warrior costumes. They were thrilled when we asked them to take a picture, cute!

Himeji Castle warriors - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle map - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle walls - The cat, you and us

Just the perfect height! :)

Himeji Castle walls - The cat, you and us

Dani “using” a clever architectonical trick that consists on creating different geometrical shapes for the loopholes in the wall to fight without being exposed.

Himeji Castle entrance - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle family - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle structure model - The cat, you and us

Impressive model of the Himeji castle structure.

Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us

The interiors are also something to admire, you can see some defensive artefacts that remain intact and learn all the different architectonic tricks they used in the construction. We realized that most of the visitors where decidedly and quickly climbing up the stairs to reach the views, but we recommend don’t missing to read and watch carefully all those details that are scattered around for you to discover.

Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle inside detail - The cat, you and us

Weapon racks all over the place as a defense system.

Himeji Castle inside detail - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle inside- The cat, you and us Himeji Castle doors - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle route sign - The cat, you and us

Himeji has this cutie pie mascot. It looks as a big mochi ball with the castle on top of her head. Also people is requested to make the visit with the shoes inside a plastic bag, hence everyone carrying it around. Easy tip: Plan a little ahead and remember to bring a backpack this day with you, and you’ll have your hands free, much better for pictures and to read your guide. Also… socks!

Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle stairs - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle inside - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle corridor - The cat, you and us Himeji Castle - The cat, you and us

With all these exciting new things to discover we forgot to have lunch, so we headed to grab some street food and went back to Osaka: a unique encounter was waiting for us, you’ll see! Join our second part of Osaka on Monday, pinky promise we’ll try to post more frequently.

More of our Japan 2.0 adventures:
Tokyo – Part I: Shinjuku & Harajuku
Tokyo – DisneySea
Kamakura
Hakone and the Takuminoyado Yoshimatsu onsen
Osaka – Part I: Osaka Castle, Umeda views and Dotonbori at night

5 Comments / 5 

  1. Ice Pandora - 30th January 2017

    The Himeji Castle is beautiful! I would have took a sweet sweet time
    to explore every nooks and cranny of this gorgeous building c:
    But I bet it would be quite scary by night ha…
    The Hello Kitty café is of course KAWAII!!
    Xx http://icepandora.blogspot.com

  2. Nieves - 30th January 2017

    Qué maravilla de templo! Me encanta la cafetería de la hello, estás preciosa y radiante disfrutando como una nena, te quiero.

  3. Fiona - 31st January 2017

    Oooh the photos inside are so beautiful – all that amazing wood and pretty shafts of light and you know I’m totes jelly about your hello kitty cafe visit – eep!! Looks amazing and I love how they theme their food!!! Might have to go make myself a mocha drink now in honour of your visit :)

  4. Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's - 1st February 2017

    While the exterior is so obviously majestic, I also quite love the warm glow of the interior :D Also loving those green foods at the cafe :3 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  5. Jane Y. - 8th February 2017

    What a beautiful castle. And the Hello Kitty cafe! Eep! And I love the Himeji mascot! So cute!

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