Courtesy of Himeji City

Himeji-jo

Japan’s most exquisite White Heron Castle with brilliant unifying walls of white.

“Japan’s most exquisite White Heron Castle with brilliant unifying walls of white. Japan’s most exquisite White Heron Castle with brilliant unifying walls of white.Courtesy of Himeji City

The World Heritage Site "Himeji Castle" is one of most beautiful and impressive castles in Japan thanks to its design and architectural wooden construction. The brilliant white walls unify this castle’s beautiful exterior, making it seem as if a heron is dancing in the sky, and so it is also known as White Heron Castle. The current Himeji Castle was built by the Shogun Ikeda Terumasa, active in the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods, and who served under 3 great masters - Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. The castle received high praise as a militaristic and artistic masterpiece of architecture of its time, and was designated as the first World Heritage Site in Japan along with Horyu-ji in 1993.

Complex spiral pattern makes an excellent military fortress.

Complex spiral pattern makes an excellent military fortress. Complex spiral pattern makes an excellent military fortress.Courtesy of Himeji City

Castles all function as military fortresses; however, Himeji Castle is renowned for its highly developed system of defence. The strengths and weaknesses of the moats and gates determine how well a castle is defended. Himeji Castle uses a complex spiral pattern and is an ingenious system compared to Edo Castle. In the long history of Himeji Castle, spanning over 400 years, it is exceptional for never having been damaged by fire or battles. From the Meiji Period onwards, the new government began destroying castles in each region, but Himeji Castle was protected by supporters due to its cultural value. The great condition of the castle’s keep, towers, and gates led to it being designated as a World Heritage site. Himeji Castle is still well loved by many, having been the stage for many stories, including the legends of Lady Sen, granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Miyamoto Musashi fighting yokai ghouls, and Okiku’s well from the ghost story Bancho Sarayashiki.

Data

Site : Himeji-jo
Location : Hyogo Prefecture
Date of Inscription : 1993
Criteria : (i) (iv)
Property : 107 ha
Buffer zone : 143 ha

The official website of The World Heritage Centre
"Himeji-jo"
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/661

Himeji City

Himeji city official website
http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/

Himeji Castle

Live Capacity

Live Capacity House of the National Treasure of Himeji Castle
http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/index.php

Himeji Tourist Information

Himeji Tourist Information "Hime no Michi"
http://www.himeji-kanko.jp/en/

Location map

No. Heritage Assets
1 Himeji Castle
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