Sat proudly overlooking the city streets below, Himeji Castle is a UNESCO-registered masterpiece of traditional wooden architecture. It is undoubtedly one of Japan’s finest castles – its sprawling maze-like grounds, built on multiple levels and divided by numerous walls, ramparts and gates, lead up to a designated national treasure, the elegant and beautiful main castle keep.
Also known as the ‘White Heron Castle’ thanks to its dazzling white-plastered exterior, these days it is mostly tourists—rather than samurai—who stroll through the castle’s wooden corridors, before climbing the steep stairs up to admire the panoramic views from the top of the six-storied keep. Thanks to the countless original features and fittings, plus some exquisite restoration work using period-accurate techniques and materials (most recently between 2009–2015), the castle retains all the splendor of its heyday, making it a must-see attraction.
But now there is a brand new, immersive way to explore Himeji Castle that will no doubt enhance the visitor experience. Using Auris, a novel sensory technology, visitors can don spectacles equipped with an audio device, allowing for a hands-free aural guide and a musical soundtrack to accompany your walk around the castle.
Auris’s sensor technology is able to scan your surroundings, automatically triggering relevant audio tracks into action upon entering specific areas. These audio tracks include an entertaining narration of interesting facts about the castle, such as aspects of the castle’s design, as well as stories and history waiting for you around every corner.
At other times you will be accompanied by a background soundtrack of period music, which makes exploring the castle a truly atmospheric experience as you wander around at your own pace. As a dynamic system, Auris is updated seasonally and for special events, meaning the audio experience is ever-changing and sure to reward repeat visits.
Himeji Castle has always been an incredibly popular sightseeing spot, but now you can get to know the castle at an even deeper level on this unique audio tour which really brings the castle, and its long and fascinating history, to life.