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Himeji Castle : A Study of Japanese Bibliography

This is all about Himeji Castle Ruins you want to know.
Every information you get on this site will be from a credible source based on Japanese history (books for reference).

"Kojō ezu(picture in Edo Period)" from 国立国会図書館

Collected by the Inagaki family, the Toba Daimyō from the mid-Edo period to the Meiji Restoration, as materials for military studies. There are about 350 illustrations, but there is no uniformity because only illustrations of castles, illustrations including castle towns, and old battlefield illustrations are mixed.

Another typical example of a castle picture in the Edo period is "The Shōhō Shiroezu", picture of the castle and castle town that the Edo Shogunate ordered the daimyō to create and submit,aggregating military information such as the buildings inside the castle, the height of the stone wall, the width of the moat and the water depth, etc., it also details the location and shape of the castle town and the mountain river.

Profile : Himeji Castle Ruins

LocationHimeji City, Hyogo Prefecture
Also known asHakuro Castle (Hakuro means "White Heron", as if forever white and beauty )
Type of castleHilltop
Mountain's nameMt.Himeyama
Elevation45.6m 
ConditionOriginal main keep
DesignationWorld Heritage Site
National Treasures
National Important Cultural Properties
National Special Historic Site
Year built1346
Abolished1871
Castle lordAkamatsu Sadanori
Refurbishment lordIkeda Terumasa
Portrait of Ikeda Terumasa from Wikipedia
Family Crest of Ikeda Clan from "Wiipedia"

The family crest was originally created from the pattern that the emperor and the royal family put on the kimono, and the pattern was made into a fixed pattern, and the one attached to his own oxcart is said to be the beginning of the family crest. The warlords drew large crests on the flag-fingers, used to distinguish enemy views on the battlefield, and used by the generals to determine which warlords were active and how much.

Himeji Castle admission

admission fee : 1000yen (over age18) 300yen(under high scool students)
admission time : am9-pm4
summer (Apri 27-August 31) : am9-pm5
【Caution】 There are many hills and stairs. There is no elevator and there are handrails, but they are very steep and narrow especially on the main keep . Therefore, unfortunately, wheelchair users cannot visit alone.
closing period : December 29 - 30 reference official site

Himeji Castle Google Map

Himeji Castle Images

One of the most incredible castle in this country

The buildings were registered as World Heritage Sites in 1993. Because it is at the highest point of aesthetic perfection as a wooden building in the early 17th century.

The Large Main Keep is five-level/seven floor, height is 31.5m. This is a Bōrō-type castle tower with a double tower on an turret with a roof made of Irimoya. Unlike the earlier Inuyama Castle, which has a small tower, it is a late Bōrō-type castle tower with a good balance and is elegant. Himeji Castle has a lot of highlights such as the beauty of main keep and the complicated territory. Let's enjoy the skillful and practical castle construction while going around the many remaining gates.
Main keep group consisting of four buildings of National Treasure

Sofisticated design having white stucco exterior walls, gables of various styles including irimoya,kara,chidori,etc

It also called "Hakuro Castle" (白鷺城)because the beautiful appearance of the white plaster painted all outer wall is reminiscent of a white egret with wings spread in the sky, which can be enjoyed as a very attractive architectural style. In addition Killer whales on the roof are talismans for fire protection. It is about 19m high and 300kg. This killer whale was once mounted on top of the main Keep, which is an imaginary fish that discharges water in case of a fire.
Inui Small Main Keep(left center) is located in the northwest and is the largest of the three small castle towers on three levels/five floors. West Small Main Keep(right center) is the third level/ fifth floor, has a Katō-mado window (a window with a curved top), which is different from the Large one. The East Small Main Keep is three level/four floor building, the smallest of the small castle towers, and has no gables or Katō windows.These four castle towers are connected by ”Watari Yagura", showing various beauty depending on the viewing direction and angle.
An emotionally rich landscape never gets tired.
Shōgun Slope under Hanomon Gate

It is said that Himeji Castle began when Akamatsu Clan built a castle in Mt.Himeyama around 1346. It was built by Ikeda Terumasa, who carried out the extensive renovation work , such as existing main keep, many buildings between 1601 to 1609. Terumasa was married with the second daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, He participated in the Battle of Sekigahara as the Eastern Arm in 1600. He was recognized for his success in the battle, and became the first lord of 520,000 level daimyō of Harima region and the castle lord of Himeji Castle.
Despite victory in the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu still couldn't release his vigilance against the Western daimyō (called non-hereditary vassals, Tozama daimyo), so he ordered Terumasa making a strong and magnificent castle as one of the bases for forming a siege net for the Osaka Castle of the Toyotomi family, along with Nagoya Castle and Hikone Castle. As a result, Himeji Castle became such a huge castle. It is said to be a "Never lose castle", a miracle castle that has survived for almost 400 years since its construction without being set on a battlefield or hit by the World War II .
Each area forms a triple castle area with Inner, Middle and Outer Kuruwas surrounded by moats. There are Honmaru, Ninomaru, Sannomaru, Nishinomaru, and Demaru in the Inner one. It is a ladder type turf (nawabari) that used the hills of Mt.Himeyama and Mt.Sagiyama.
Hishinomon Gate

it is yaguramon gate at entrance of Ninomaru. Degoushi-mado window, katō-mado window and gold leaf crane fittings attached to Tategoushi-mado window add splendor to this gate.
Inomon Gate

Go through Hishinomon Gate and go straight to reach the gate of "Inomon Gate", at the first gate of the route going straight to the castle tower. We can experience various mechanisms (defense system) hidden in this castle.
It is the most spectacular example of a Japanese castle in existence. The beauty of the main keep is unrivaled throughout Japan and the extent of surviving structures is really amazing.
Nishinomaru

When Ikeda Terumasa was relocated to Tottori Castle in 1617, Honda Tadamasa, hereditary vassals (fudai daimyō) , became the castle owner of Himeji Castle. Honda Tadatoki, the eldest son of Tadamasa, married Ieyasu's granddaughter Princess Sen(Senhime). She was married to Toyotomi Hideyori, and was rescued from Osaka Castle in the Siege of Osaka Summer Camp. Tadamasa and Tadatoki built the for Senhime in Mt.Sagiyama, west of Mt.Himeyama. Although there is no palace already, "Keshō Yagura(turret)" and "Watari Yagura" surround the northern part of the west from the western part. The interior of Keshō Yagura is tatami-matted, and the interior of the long-lasting Watari Yagura is a passage called the Hyakken(百間) Corridor. There were many rooms facing the aisle, and the room was a maid's room. Despite the facilities for Senhime and the maid, it has a bent part that can shoot arrows at enemies.It also had functions as a fort, such as stone dropping windows at key points inside.

Stone wall,said to have been worked on by a military master, Kuroda Kanbei (from Wikipedia)

In addition to the stone wall at the time of the castle construction by Ikeda Terumasa and of the addition of Nisinomaru by Honda Tadamasa, Himeji Castle has an ancient stone wall with ​​Hashiba Hideyoshi era in the east of Hishimon Gate, Kamiyamasato Kuruwa, North of Ninomaru, and northern primeval forest, etc. The stone wall piled up with natural stones is "Nozura-zumi style". Usually only a few meters high, but it is said that Kanbei was able to build twice as high.
Well of Lady Kiku

The stage of one of Japan's leading ghost stories,"Banshū Sarayashiki"

She is a woman in working in the inner part of a lord's residence (Edo period) and has been resented by passing through the plot of embezzlement of lord's family by rebel minister, Aoyama Tetsuzan. One of the ten plates, the treasure of the lord's family, was hidden, and she was accused of mismanagement, eventually being attacked and killed, thrown into a well. Then every night, a woman moans counting the plates heard from the well "One~,Two~”.
Inside the castle
Even for someone who is not interested in castles particularly, a trip to Himeji City is fascinating. This can be a half day trip on the way to Hiroshima or a short day trip from Osaka, Nara or Kyoto. That's two-thumbs up absolutely.

Link-1 : Japanese five castle of National Treasure

【west japan】Matsue Castle 【west japan】Hikone Castle 【central japan】Matsumoto castle 【central japan】Inuyama Castle 【west japan】Himeji Castle

Link-2 : Japanese three most great castle

【south japan】Kumamoto Castle 【central japan】Nagoya Castle 【west japan】Himeji Castle

Link-3 : Japanese three most great hilltop castle

【west japan】Tsuyama Castle 【west】Matsuyama Castle 【west japan】Himeji Castle

Link-4 : Original Main Keep

【west japan】Marugame Castle 【west japan】Bicchūmatsuyama Castle 【west japan】Matsue Castle 【west japan】Hikone Castle 【central japan】Inuyama Castle 【central japan】Matsumoto Castle 【central japan】Maruoka Castle 【north japan】Hirosaki Castle 【west japan】Kōchi Castle 【west japan】Uwajima Castle 【west japan】Matsuyama Castle 【west japan】Himeji Castle

Link-5 : A castle closely related to [block]24[/block]

【east japan】 Odawara Castle 【west japan】Odani Castle 【south japan】Nagoya Castle 【west japan】Ōsaka Castle 【west japan】Miki Castle 【west japan】Himeji Castle

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