Himeji Castle is Japan's most magnificent, original castle still standing today. Many other castles in Japan are modern reconstructions with ferro-concrete walls and interior elevators, as the majority of Japan's wooden castles were destroyed in air raids in World War II or pulled down in the 1870s at the beginning of the Meiji Period of Japanese history.
Himeji Castle was first started by warlord Hidetoshi Toyotomi in 1581, who built a three-story donjon (central keep) on the site of Himeyama Hill. Himeji Castle was later expanded to a five-story donjon and remodeled by Terumasa Ikeda (one of Hidetoshi's generals) in 1608. The castle was further enlarged a few years later to reach its present grand scale.
Himeji Castle is also known as "Shirasagijo" or "Hakurojo" (White Egret Castle) due to its bird-like silhouette and the white color of the castle walls.
-Himeji Castle makes for an easy day-trip from Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto or Hiroshima.
-There are guided tours available in English.
-The castle is a 10 minute walk from Himeji Station.
-Himeji is a stop on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen Line.
-Visitors can also take a shinkaisoku JR express from Kyoto (90 mins), Osaka (1 hour) or Kobe (40 mins).
Hours: 9am-5pm (later in summer)
Tel: 0792 85 1146
Other original Japanese castles or note are: Inuyama Castle Kumamoto Castle Matsue Castle
Buy miniature Japanese masks
Japan Himeji Himeji Castle donjon Hidetoshi Toyotomi
Wednesday, December 06, 2006