Standing at the center of Himeji city is Himeji Castle, a six story castle that has become an iconic image for Japan and is one of the finest examples of fortress architecture in the world. Not to mention that it’s the most visited castle in Japan! ^^
From a distance, the elegant rooflines of its white towers resemble a flock of herons flying, hence one of the known names of the castle: White Heron.
Its height is 46.4 m and is made with materials such as stone, wood, plaster and tile.
Built in 1346 as a fort, it first took the name of Himeyama Castle. Two hundred years later (1581), Kuroda Shigetaka did some remodeling work and Himeji Castle was born. Two other remodelings or expansions have been made to Himeji Castle, one at 1601-1609 by Ikeda Terumasa and the other at 1617-1618 by Honda Tadamasa.
Himeji Castle contains advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. Arrowslit with shapes of circles, triangles, and rectangles are located throughout the castle. This was intended to allow defenders armed with matchlocks or let archers fire on attackers without exposing themselves.
The castle complex contains numerous warehouses that were used to store rice, salt, and water in case of a siege. It also contained 33 wells within the inner moat, 13 of which remain; the deepest of these has a depth of 30 m.
The confusing maze of paths leading to the castle keep its one of the very interesting features of this castle. The gates and outer walls are organized to confuse the enemy, making him to walk in circles around the complex on its way to the keep.
These are the crests of some feudal lords of Himeji Castle.
These photos are from the interior of Himeji Castle with representations of daily court life, the armor used at times of war and a shinto shrine on the top floor of the main tower.
Himeji Castle has been featured many times, from foreign and japanese films to videogames, and even a nanoblock version of it ^^
It is considered one of Japan’s three premier castles, together with Matsumoto Castle and Kumamoto Castle. The area within the middle moat of the castle complex is a designated Special Historic Site and five structures of the castle are also designated National Treasures. A beautiful and historic place to visit on your trip to Japan ^^
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