The Himeji castle (Himeji-jo in Japanese, also known as Hakurojo or Shirasagijo) is a flatland castle located in Himeji city, on a strategic site along the route to western Honshu. The castle was built in the flatland, on a natural 45m high hill called Himeyama. The Himeji castle complex is the finest surviving example of 17th century Japanese fortress architecture, and comprises 83 buildings and highly developed defence systems with carefully designed protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. The Himeji castle has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
Construction of the castle started towards the end of the Japanese civil war in 1601 on the site of an older fortress dating back to the 14th century. When it was completed in 1609 it incorporated the latest military technologies of the time and was one of the most formidable fortresses in the world. The castle was designed to withstand attacks by firearms, which had been introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in 1543. A maze of paths leading to the central structure was meant to confuse attackers.

01 Bridge over moat 02 Gate 03 Castle park 04 Main donjon tower with white walls
05 Panorama view of Himeji castle 06 Panorama view of Himeji castle 07 Main donjon tower with white walls 08 Main donjon tower with white walls
09 Main donjon tower with white walls 10 Main donjon tower with white walls 11 Path to Hishi gate 12 Path to Hishi gate 13 View of castle park through Hishi gate
14 Main donjon tower with white walls 15 Main donjon tower with white walls 16 Main donjon tower with white walls 17 Path in castle compound 18 Main donjon tower with white walls
19 Main donjon tower 20 Roof decorations 21 Castle walls 22 Main donjon tower with white walls 23 Main donjon tower with white walls
24 Main donjon tower with white walls 25 Panoramic view of castle and Himeji city 26 Tiled roofs 27 Muskets 28 Samurai armament
29 Castle room 30 Castle room 31 Castle room 32 Panoramic view of Himeji city
33 Building roofs 34 Panoramic view of castle and Himeji city 35 Castle walls and buildings 36 Harakirimaru area 37 Walls
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