himeji castle: one of japan’s oldest castles

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Reading just the other day about Cherry Blossom season  made us think of our time in Japan. Flicking through our photos we came across photos of Himeji Castle.

Himeji Castle survived World War II bombings and earthquakes and is an example of Japanese castle architecture dating back to the 17th century. However, the history of the castle spans back to the 1300s, where it started as a fort and then a castle before becoming the castle that we see today. It is one of 12 oldest castles still standing out of about 25 000 (yes, 25 thousand) castles ever built in Japanese history. It is 6 levels high with very steep stairwells and with each floor, the stairwell get narrower and steeper.

We had to take our shoes off so were climbing the stairs light-footedly like ninjas. The depth of each step, the higher we got, was so narrow, we were only able to place half our foot on. Basically we were tippy-toeing to the top, making us feel even more ninja-like 🙂  And the view when we got to the top was worth the sore calf muscles! It really was quite a fortress!

The castle sits atop a hill and looks so wondrous and white and is referred to sometimes as the White Heron Castle. The day we were there, the sky was so blue – it was simply picture perfect. 

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Himeji Castle was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1993.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list