Himeji-jo castle (jo in Japanese means castle) stands today above the city of Himeji as it was finished in the middle of 16th century. It is considered Japan's most beautiful and military formidable stronghold.

The task of defending the whole structure fell to the moats, elevated narrow passageways and ishi-otoshi (rock chutes), designed to send an avalanche of stones, or boiling water down on any invaders. This castle has a labyrinthine approach, through a series of twisting passages, narrow gates, and ambushes. Ironically, because of the 250-year peace imposed by shogun Tokugawa, the defense system of Himeji-jo has never been put to the test of battle.

The Eaves::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
The Eaves
The Small Gate::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
The Small Gate
The Wall::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
The Wall

The magnificent donjon (main tower) atop huge stone palisade is surrounded by massive walls and comprising scores of yagura (arrow storehouses), watch towers and citadels.

Every castle has its legends. The well in Himeji-jo, Okiku-no Ido, is said to be one where a maid was cast to her death for breaking lord's plate. Her voices echoing in the well can be heard at night.

Magnificent Donjon::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
Magnificent Donjon
Narrow Passageway::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
Narrow Passageway
Himeji-jo Stronghold::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
Himeji-jo Stronghold
View from Donjon::Himeji-jo castle, Japan::
View from Donjon

© 2001 Maciej Swulinski