Located close to Osaka, the Japanese castle is also called the White Heron because of its white exterior.
Himeji, castle, castle architecture, architecture, building, Japanese, Japan, Osaka, World Heritage, main keep, history of art, fortification, clay, UNESCO world heritage, Shirasagi, White Heron
Located in the center of Himeji, this building is a masterpiece of Japanese architecture and Japan's largest and most visited castle. It is also called Shirasagi or the White Heron because of its brilliant white exterior and its resemblance to a bird taking flight. Its walls are plastered with a white, non-flammable material. The earliest castle at Himeji was a fort built in the 14th century. Later, the fort was substantially rebuilt on several occasions and several buildings were added to it. Its final form dates from the 17th century.
The strongest Japanese castle, the White Heron did not witness major attacks for a long period of time. When the feudal system was done away with in 1871, the Himeji castle was put up for auction. The new owner wanted to have the castle complex demolished, but because of high costs he gave up his plans. Miraculously, the castle survived subsequent earthquakes and bombings during World War II.
With a circumference of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), the castle complex comprises 83 buildings and covers an area of 233 hectares (575.8 acres). Situated at the center of the complex, the castle keep is 46 meters (150.9 feet) high. Together with three other towers, the keep encloses the castle's inner courtyard. The fort also has three outer courtyards.
The White Heron Castle is one of Japan's three key castles. It has been included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites since 1993. The Himeji castle serves as a classic example of Japanese architecture.
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