Himeji Castle is the most magnificent of Japanese castles which survive in their original form.
The castle is also known as "Shirasagi (White Heron) Castle" because of its white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight.
The castle's beautiful Tenshukaku donjon and complicated structure is an invaluable treasure that expresses the height of Japanese wood architecture techniques.
Although there have been a castle named Himeyama Castle here since 1346, today's Himeji Castle was built in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and enlarged some 30 years later by Ikeda Terumasa.
Ikeda Terumasa was awarded the castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu for his help to defeat the Toyotomi armies in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
In the following centuries the castle was home to 48 successive lords.
Himeji Castle has a five-story Tenshukaku main donjon and three smaller donjons, the entire structure being surrounded by moats and defensive walls punctuated with several forms of openings for firing guns and shooting arrows at attackers.
The walls of the donjon also feature "Ishiotoshi" or openings that allowed defenders to pour boiling water or oil on to anyone that made it past the defensive slits and was thinking of scaling the walls.
Himeji Castle is designated as a National Treasure and registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
The castle was extensively renovated in 2015 after five years of full-scale repair work.
- 9:00 – 16:00
- 9:00 – 17:00 (April 27 - August 31)
- December 29 - 30
Access / Public Transport
- 15 minutes walk from JR Himeji Station
Address / Location
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