World Cultural Heritage
the second half of the 15th century, rival
warlords in Japan were the masters of their
own regions. From around that time, castles in
Japan changed from being just a military
facility to a symbol of the feudal warlord's
power. Many beautiful castles were built
during this period. Himeji Castle, inscribed
on the World Heritage List in 1993, has
beautiful whitewashed walls, and so it is also
known as the White Heron Castle.
1333 Norimura Akamatsu, the ruler of Harima District,
built a fort and in 1346, his son, Sadanori built
premises. After them, the Kotera and Kuroda clans
ruled the area. It is said by some scholars that the
original castle was built in the middle of the 16th
century when Shigetaka Kuroda and his son Mototaka Kuroda
ruled the district. When Kanbei Yoshitaka Kuroda
ruled, Hideyoshi Hashiba came to the castle in order to
build his own three-storied castle. After the
Sekigahara Civil War the lord named Terumasa Ikeda,
son-in-law of the Shogun Ieyasu Tokuawa moved into the
castle to rule. His annual salary was 520,000 koku
of rice (1 koku = 5 bushels). In 1601, Terumasa
Ikeda started digging three moats around the castle
building and completed the whole castle complex as it is
in 1609. The outer moat is just north of J.R. Himeji
Station today. After
the Ikedas, Tadamasa Honda added some buildings in West
Bailey. His annual salary was 150,000 koku of rice.
The castle is believed to have been completely finished in
1618. After the Honda family there were other lords
such as the Matsudairas, the Sabakibaras, etc.
Finally Tadazumi Sakai came as the lord in 1749. His
descendants met with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when
the Shogunite systems disappeared.
Main Tower with the smaller towers and corridors
connecting these towers have been registered as national
treasures. The Cosmetic Tower, 27 'yagura', 15
gates, and 1,000 meter-long earthen walls have been
registered as important cultural treasures. A part
of the middle moat, and the whole inner moat remain as
they were in the feudal times. And the areas inside
the middle moat has been registered as a special historic
68 Hon-machi, Himeji, Hyogo
a.m. - 4 p.m. (September - May)
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (June - August)
Only for three days - 12/29 - 12/31.
Approximately 1 1/2 hours
15 minute walk from J. R. Himeji
By car from Fukusaki Intersection
of Chugoku Expressway
Stone Wall with A Folding Fan Shape
lower part of the wall has a gentle slope, but it
becomes steeper toward the top to defend against invaders
climbing up on it.
seasons of the Himeji Castle
There are about 1,000 cherry trees around Himeji castle.
They are in full bloom from the end of March to the
beginning of April.
Bright sunshine with big green trees.
Crimson leaves of the maple trees.
: From January until February, you may see the castle
covered in a blanket of snow .
Spots Around Himeji City
Museum of art :
Open : 10:00am ~ 5:00pm
Fee : 200 yen
Closed : Monday
Take a Shinki-bus from the north side of Himeji Station to
Nishioyashikiato Garden Kokoen
Open : 9:00am ~ 5:00pm
Fee : 300 yen
Closed : Dec.29 ~ Jan. 1
Transportation : It's a 15 min. walk from Himeji Station.
Map of Himeji