Marvel at Himeji – The Stunning White Crane Castle


Himeji Castle is an ancient Japanese castle located in the center of Himeji city, Hyogo province, 650km west of Tokyo. Himeji is also called “White Heron” because the Japanese believe that the image of the white heron – a noble bird, symbolizes the noble purity of a gentleman. Himeji Castle, together with Matsumoto Castle and Kumamoto Castle, form the so-called “Three National Castles of Japan”. Of the three castles, Himeji is the most famous.

In April 2016, if you want to travel to Japan to visit Himeji ancient castle, please register for the program here!

Some information about Himeji White Crane Castle

Himeji Castle began to be built in 1333 by order of lord Norimura Akamatsu of Harima region. Initially it was just a defensive fortress. In 1346, Norimura’s son, Sadanori, built additional residences and other auxiliary buildings. Afterwards, the warlords Kotera and Kuroda took control of the region. Some researchers believe that the main castle was built in the mid-16th century, when Shigetaka Kuroda and his son Mototaka Kuroda held power in the region. When Kanbei Shigetaka Kuroda controlled this area, Hideyoshi Hashiba came to this castle to build his own three-story castle. Later Hideyoshi Hashiba and later Iesada Kinoshita succeeded in controlling the castle. After the Sekigahara civil war, lord Terumasa Ikeda – adopted son of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa came to this castle to run it.

The wonderful White Crane Castle that everyone sees today was completely completed in 1618. After the time of the Honda family, there were other lords such as the Matsudaira family, the Sakakibara family. Tadazumi Sakai finally took over as lord in 1749. His descendants participated in the Meiji Reform of 1868, when the Shogun era ended.
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A corner of the Japanese garden in Himeji castle

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In 1931, Himeji Castle was recognized by UNESCO as a National Heritage Site, one of four castles in Japan to receive this honor. The works that became National Heritage and are preserved include the main tower, other smaller towers and connecting corridors with 27 “yagura” (ammunition and food storage), 15 gates and 100 meters of walls. Part of the middle canal and the entire inner canal were also kept exactly as they were in the medieval period.

Admire the beautiful architecture of Himeji White Crane Castle
Himeji Castle was built on top of Himeyama hill 45.6m above sea level. This castle is famous not only for its large main tower but also for its network of 83 buildings with solid defense systems from feudal times, as complex as a maze.

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The castle was built of wood (about 36 tons in total) and covered with white plaster on the outside to make it waterproof and fireproof. The reason it is called White Crane is because the castle’s exterior with its donjons and watchtowers covered in white plaster reminds us of the poetic image of a white crane taking flight. This is not just an architectural work but also a unique military project. Himeji Castle is said to be a beautiful building from every angle.
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The whole castle has 6 floors built with large diameter wooden pillars, supporting them straight and strong. There are large wooden columns dating back 780 years, belonging to the ancient cypress tree type. In particular, the stairs connecting the floors are designed not to overlap in the same coordinate position but are scattered, creating So dangerous corners make defense work more effective. The unique feature of the castle is its long, winding corridors. The castle has very few open windows, which are narrow rectangular windows because this is first and foremost a defensive fortress.

One of the outstanding features of the exterior appearance of Himeji castle is the silver color of the roof tiles that combine harmoniously with the white color of the walls. There are 56 types of tiles used in beautifying this castle. The small triangular tiles at the edge of the roof are one of the unique features in the castle design. They help rainwater flow down to a ditch below and into a water filter that serves drinking and household water to those living in the castle.
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In particular, if you have the opportunity to come here in the spring, visitors will be ecstatic by the beautiful beauty of cherry blossoms and plum blossoms around the beautiful Nishinomaru garden of White Crane Castle. Indeed, this is a great space to admire the magnificent Himeji castle with its charming white and pink color, the flower petals gently fluttering in the spring breeze as if making people’s hearts more fluttering and lingering forever. want to leave.
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