The Himeji Castle is Japan’s best-preserved castle from the feudal era. Also known as the White Heron Castle because of its elegant, white appearance and imposing size, and stunning beauty. It has been well preserved through the years and has survived wars, earthquakes, and fires. It is one of the country’s original twelve castles and is listed as a world heritage site.
The castle finally opened to the public in 2015 and is near the city of Kyoto. The original fortifications were constructed in the 1400s and completed in 1609. There are over eighty buildings spread across multiple baileys; connected by a series of gates and pathways that wind around the castle.
The interior, as you can see, is mostly black which earned the name, the Crow Castle. During the tour of the interior of the castle, one must remove their shoes and roam barefoot through the rooms and navigate near-vertical stairs. Each floor, going up, is smaller than the last and the view from the top floor is amazing. The castle is surrounded by two water-filled moats that were designed to aid in the defense of the castle. This was its first layer, however. Invaders would encounter walls of stone that stretch over 3 miles sometimes reaching a height of 85 feet. These walls were constructed with no mortar to make them more resistant to earthquakes.
The walls and buildings also feature over 1,000 holes in which archers could fire arrows out on their attackers. The plaster that covers the walls actually makes them resistant to fire.
Out of 84 original gates, only 21 survived. These gates lead attackers in a series of zigzag paths and twist around allowing the defenders’ opportunities to pick off the invaders. The gates are made of iron plating that makes them more resistant to attacks. Oddly enough this castle was never really attacked but was hit by a bomb during WWII. Thankfully the castle was saved because the bomb never went off.
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