Himeji is the second largest city in Hyogo prefecture and it is the commercial, industrial and demographic center of Harima district. It is the home of Himeji Castle, a UN World Heritage site. And it is famous for the autumn festival of Banshu; the historic Shoshazan Engyō-ji Buddhist temple; and the Nada no Kenka Matsuri portable shrine fighting festival.


Winter is generally sunny, but it does snow several days out of the year at the times when there is a south coast low pressure zone or with the appearance of strong winter air pressure. During summer, when the Pacific high-pressure zone appears, there develops a calm peculiar to the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, and the days can become extremely hot and even tropical, with the mercury rising above 35 °C.


Himeji has been the center of Harima Province since the Nara period. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Ikeda Terumasa received a fief in Harima Province and established the Himeji Domain. He went on to expand the Himeji Castle and its castle town.

In 1871, Himeji became the capital of Himeji prefecture (later Shikama Prefecture). Later, in 1876, Himeji prefecture was merged into Hyōgo Prefecture and the city of Himeji was established on April 1, 1889. After the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake, the Japanese government reportedly considered moving the nation's capital from Tokyo to Himeji

Origin of the name of the city

The name Himeji is said to originate from the older name for the locale, Himeyama, or “Hime’s Hill,” where Himeji is now located. It seems that the name came about because the area was known for its sericulture (producing silk) and was once called Himeko (silkworm), in old times. The place name Himeji’s Hill (Himeji Oka) appears in “Harimanokuni Fudoki” as well.

Scenic spot / culture

Himeji Castle often serves as the backdrop for period dramas, and in recent years the Himeji Film Commission has been engaged in such activities as scouting the location for the mountain temple in the movie “The Last Samurai.” Himeji is also the site of one of the most prestigious festivals in Japan.