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Location Himeji Castle is located in the center of Himeji City, about 50 kilometers west of Kobe and about 650 kilometers west of Tokyo. It takes about fours hours by bullet train from Tokyo. Special Features of Himeji Castle Himeji Castle is nicknamed "White Heron" Castle because of its white walls which are covered with white plaster. The reason for using white plaster is that it is fireproof. Like other surviving Japanese castles, Himeji Castle is built of wood, not stones, and so fire prevention is very important. As well as the fact that white plaster has fireproofing capabilities, it is also considered to be a strong reinforcement. Therefore it covers both walls and almost every outside structure from eaves to pillars. The castle is built on the top of a hill called Himeyama, which is 45.6 meters above sea level. The main tower, which is the center and the symbol of the castle, is 46.4 meters high; namely, it stands 92 meters above sea level. Himeji Castle is famous for not only this huge main tower but also the highly effective and complicated defensive design, which is just like a maze. Even today, with the route clearly marked, many visitors are easily lost. You, too, may be lost in the labyrinth of this virtual tour.

History The history of the castle began by the construction of a fort by Norimura Akamatsu, the ruler of Harima District (Himeji region) in 1333. Later in 1581, a three-storied castle was built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi when the country was in a state of continual conflict. In 1601 Terumasa Ikeda, son-in -law of the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, started rebuilding the castle into a five storied main tower with three small towers since Himeji was a very important defensive position for the Tokugawa shogunate government. It took Ikeda eight years to complete the reconstruction. Fortunately, Himeji Castle has never been damaged by warfare, even during the Second World War. That is one of the reasons why Himeji Castle has kept its original form for nearly 400 years. In 1993, Himeji Castle was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage list, because it is a wooden castle structure of incomparable worth in the world and because the whole structure including towers, stone ramparts, and earthen walls are extremely well preserved. Virtual Tour

Himeji Castle Restoration If you are thinking about visiting Himeji Castle in the next couple of years, please be aware that they will be conducting restoration on the main keep from October 2009 until 2014. See the PDFs linked below for more details.

Images To create the images used in this photo album or “Comik” I used ComicLife with my original photo’s-great fun to use.

Kokoen Gardens This garden, Himeji Koko-en, was constructed in 1992 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Himeji municipality. Himeji Koko-en is composed of nine separate gardens, making use of the exact former site of where Nishi-Oyashiki (the Lord's West Residence) and other samurai houses once existed. The original location was confirmed through seven archeological excavations. Professor Makoto Nakamura of Kyoto University supervised the planning and designing of this garden. The name "Koko-en" is derived from "Koko do" the name of Japan's sixth provincial school founded in 1692 in Himeji by the last Lord of Himeji, Lord Sakai. All of the nine separate gardens show the essence of the Edo period. The following are some of the many splendors which can be found here. Among attractions, Oyasiki-no-niwa, the garden of the lord's house, comes first. Second , Cha-no-niwa, the garden of tea, has an elaborate tea house, where you can enjoy an authentic tea ceremony. Next, several mud walls with roof tiles on were built as replicas of original walls located here. There is also a Nagaya-Gate which bestows upon the viewer the historical feeling of the Edo period. In addition, from Nagare-no-hiraniwa you can enjoy excellent views of the main keep and the West Bailey of Himeji Castle. Finally strolling through the gardens, you can appreciate beautiful trees and flowers of four seasons, the rapids and waterfalls, and covered walkways built of Japanese cypress. You can feel history and see natural beauty in this garden. It is an impressive and scenic spot located just west of Himeji Castle.

Himeji Castle Comik  

This is a comik format of a previous publication.