Himeji Castle is Japan’s first registered Cultural World Heritage Site. It is said to be a masterpiece of Japan’s unique castle architecture technology that reached its peak in 1600.
Its bright white appearance resembles a heron about to take flight, which is why it is also known as Hakuro-jo (The castle of the white heron).
The keep (Tenshu) was a symbol of the authority and power of the feudal lord. At the same time, the castles built in the Warring States era were a display of the military wisdom and technology of the time. The elegant appearance of Himeji Castle makes the robustness of its structure and the efficiency of its defensive and offensive systems almost inconceivable. We invite you to fully enjoy the grandeur of its scale and the power that reaches down to its smallest details.
During WWII, the city of Himeji was bombed twice by the US military and burned to the ground. Although the Americans bombed the castle, it was fortunate that the bombs did not explode and it escaped the fire. The day after the bombardment, people shed tears when they saw the Castle rise intact over the burned fields.
The roofs of Himeji Castle are made up of an alternative combination of flat and round tiles. This style of roofing is called “Hongawa buki”. Stucco has been placed in the joints between tile and tile. There are tiles that are marked with blazons. These are the family emblems of the lords that have existed throughout the castle’s history. In Himeji we can find 6 types of blazons.
The windows of the Tenshu tower are equipped with thick lattices to prevent the entry of enemies and to defend against their projectiles. In the small Kotenshu tower there are lobed windows (Katomado) lacquered in black and adorned with golden leaves. This architectural element was used in the style of the temples of Zen Buddhism and was a symbol of the nobility of the building.
Himeji Castle is the tallest wooden building in all of Japan and has a beautiful appearance that makes it unique around the world. Although from the outside the Daitenshu appears to be a 5-story building, it actually has 7 floors in total: six above ground and a basement.
For all those interested in traditional architecture and Japanese history, Himeji Castle is definitely a must-see during the trip.