My niece, a kiwi who lives and works in London, is visiting Japan in March and April. A must-do in spring is of course viewing cherry blossoms. One of the famous sites for that is Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture.
When you arrive at Himeji Station either by Shinkansen or local trains, you see the castle at the end of the main avenue. It is only 15 minutes’ walk to the gate. I suggest you buy a lunch box and a bottle of tea from one of the shops in the station or on the way.
It is crowded with a huge number of tourists. You buy a ticket for the castle for ￥1,000, or the castle and the neighboring Japanese garden for ￥1,040. I recommend visiting the garden, too, though I must warn you that you may get very tired after climbing the stairs in the castle. I suggest you go to the toilet before entering the castle. Toilets are far and between on the ground, and you stand in the queue inside the castle with no toilets.
As you go up higher, you will have a panoramic view of Himeji town with the sea in the distance, from narrow windows over the black ceramic tiles. I remember someone complaining that there isn’t anything but ancient wooden pillars and beams inside, unlike decorated palaces in Europe. After all, this was a fort for feudal lords. You will end up taking lots of photos, as every angle is impressive and beautiful. Personally I think the view from the back is the most photogenic.