Himeji castleHimeji City, Hyogo Prefecture

Himeji Castle DATA
TenshuExisting castle tower|National Treasure Gojo
Other nameShirasagi Castle
castle construction1346
address68 Honmachi, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture
Access to Himeji Castle
Approximately 20 minutes walk from the north exit of Himeji Station on JR West, Sanyo Shinkansen, Sanyo Main Line, Hime Shin Line, and Bantan Line.

HISTORYHimeji Castle, a representative example of early modern castles registered as a World Heritage Site

Himeji Castle is a flat mountain castle built around Himeyama and Sagiyama on the north side of Shikama District, Harima Province (currently Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture). More than 80 buildings, including the castle tower, turrets, turrets, ridges, gates, and walls, built before the Edo period still exist, with 8 designated as national treasures and 47 as important cultural properties. In addition, in 1993, along with Horyuji Temple in Nara, it was designated as Japan's first World Heritage Site (cultural heritage), and its charm has become widely known around the world. Here, let's unravel the history of Himeji Castle.

The beginning of Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is said to have its origins in 1333, when Northern Court military commander Norimura Akamatsu built a fort on Himeyama, and his son Norimura Akamatsu built a full-fledged castle.
However, this theory is controversial. What the Akamatsu clan built was just a small fort, and the full-scale construction was carried out by Shigetaka Kuroda and Motonaka Kuroda, the grandfather and father of Yoshitaka Kuroda (Kanbei), famously known as ``Gunshi Kanbei.'' That's what it means.
Currently, Himeji Castle's official website accepts the theory that the Akamatsu clan built the castle, which is the predecessor of Himeji Castle.
After that, the Akamatsu clan plotted to kill the 6th Shogun Yoshinori Ashikaga during the reign of Mitsuke Akamatsu and committed suicide (Kakichi Rebellion).
After Himeji Castle lost its owner, Mitsusuke Akamatsu, who later served as the commander-in-chief of the Western Army during the Onin War, came to be in charge of the castle.
Furthermore, when the Onin War broke out, Masanori Akamatsu, the ninth generation of the Akamatsu clan, captured Himeji Castle and regained his territory.
After that, Himeji Castle was placed in the custody of the Kodera clan, a branch of the Akamatsu clan, and their senior vassal, the Kuroda clan, and in 1580, Himeji Castle was presented to Hideyoshi Hashiba as his base for his invasion of China.
At this time, a three-story castle tower was built. From 1585, Sadaie Kinoshita became the lord of Himeji Castle and protected the castle for 16 years.
Himeji Castle in the Edo period
After the Battle of Sekigahara occurred in 1600 and Tokugawa Ieyasu unified Japan, Himeji Castle was given to Terumasa Ikeda for his efforts in capturing Gifu Castle.
As the first lord of Himeji Castle, Terumasa Ikeda spent nine years undergoing major renovations to the castle. As a result, Himeji Castle took on its current appearance.
After that, Himeji Castle was lorded by several families, including the Ikeda family, the Honda family, the Matsudaira family, and the Sakakibara family, and after repeated expansions and renovations, the Sakai family served as the lord until the Meiji Restoration.
Himeji Castle after the Meiji period
After the Meiji Restoration, Himeji Castle was temporarily placed under the control of the Ministry of War, but was soon given over to the private sector.
At this time, it once belonged to a private citizen, but soon became state-owned again. After becoming state-owned, Himeji Castle became an army barracks, and several buildings were demolished to make way for an infantry garrison.
Afterwards, the remaining castle towers and other structures began to deteriorate, but a movement to restore and preserve Himeji Castle began, led by Army Engineer Colonel Shigeto Nakamura. It was then decided that along with Nagoya Castle, the castle tower and turret would be preserved, and a large-scale repair work called the ``Meiji Great Repairs'' was carried out.
Later, Himeji Castle was handed over from the military to Himeji City and opened to the public in 1913. In 1927, it was designated as a historic site, and in 1931, it was designated as a national treasure under the National Treasure Preservation Law.
During the Pacific War, Himeji was bombed twice, but fortunately Himeji Castle escaped major damage. In addition, Nagoya Castle, which was preserved in the same way, was burnt down in an air raid in 1945.
In 1951, 8 buildings of Himeji Castle, including the castle tower, were designated as national treasures after being spared from war damage. Then, in 1956, a major restoration project called the Great Showa Restoration took place, which took eight years.
In the Heisei era, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and its popularity increased not only in Japan but also overseas. From 2009 to 2015, the castle tower underwent its third major restoration called the Great Heisei Repair, and in 2015 it had its grand opening in its current form.
Current Himeji Castle
Today, Himeji Castle has 36 buildings that you can tour, including the castle tower and turret. In addition to recommended tour routes, the official website promotes the Himeji Castle Discovery App, which allows you to listen to explanations of various parts of the castle using your smartphone.
In particular, the Himeji Castle Discovery app is popular because it can be launched for free.
Additionally, some buildings, such as the To-no-yagura tower and the area around Adate, are only open to the public during special public viewings in the spring.
If you are interested, it would be a good idea to go during that time.
A castle festival is held every May, and you can see a variety of historical picture scrolls, including a procession of feudal lords.
In addition, the Yukata Festival is held every June, and tourists wearing yukata gather at Himeji Castle.
Himeji Castle is famous for its collaboration with cherry blossoms, and now it is lit up at night, and depending on the season, projection mapping is also held.
In addition, Himeji Castle is often used as a filming location for period dramas, and was featured as Edo Castle in the movie "Abarenbo Shogun" starring Ken Matsudaira.

Read biographies related to Himeji Castle

Tadatsugu IkedaA regrettable death at a young age
From the Sengoku period to the Edo period, many talented military commanders appeared and disappeared. Among them, the Ikeda family continued with Ikeda Tsuneoki, who served Oda Nobunaga, and Ikeda Terumasa, who served Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. After that, I will introduce Tadatsugu Ikeda.
Tadatsugu Ikeda

History of Himeji Domain, with Himeji Castle as the domain office

himeji domainRuled by prestigious families such as Terumasa Ikeda and the Sakai family.
One of Japan's most famous castles, Himeji Castle served as the domain office of Himeji Castle throughout the Edo period. The Himeji domain was founded by Terumasa Ikeda, a military commander who served Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was established in the Meiji era during the reign of the Sakai clan, the top of the feudal lords.
himeji domain
Himeji Domain DATA
Domain officeHimeji castle
old areaHarima Kunishika Higashi District
stone height150,000 koku
main lordMr. Sakai
Estimated population220,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

The first lord of the domain was Terumasa Ikeda, son-in-law of Tokugawa Ieyasu. After the country was transferred to his young grandson's generation, Honda Tadamasa, who was his successor, entered the book. After that, feudal lords such as the Matsudaira family, Sakakibara family, and Sakai family changed. Successive feudal lords held important positions in the shogunate, such as tairo and roju.

Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03