Himeji Castle 「姫路城」 (Himeji-city,Hyogo)
Himeji Castle was constructed in the mid-14th century, and a three-layer castle tower was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century. Ikeda Terumasa, a feudal Lord of the castle, remodelled it in the 17th century. Its figure was likened to a white heron spreading its wings, and thus also became known as White Heron Castle. This striking white edifice is generally considered the most beautiful of Japan’s castles and is one of the few that has escaped the ravages of civil war, earthquakes and firebombings. Renovation was completed in 2015.
Hours : 09:00 to 17:00
Admission : 1000 yen
Access : 15mins walk from JR Himeji station on JR Sanyo line.
Matsumoto Castle 「松本城」 (Matsumoto-city,Nagano)
Matsumoto Castle is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original castles. It is unique for having both a secondary dungeon and a turret adjoined to its main keep and is unique as a “hirajiro” – a castle built on plains rather than on a hill or mountain. This stately landmark was completed in 1614.
Hours : 08:30 to 17:00
Admission : 610 yen
Access : 20 mins walk from JR Matsumoto station
Kumamoto Castle 「熊本城」 (Kumamoto)
Kumamoto Castle is a very impressive castle with large castle grounds and a variety of buildings. As the original castle was burned down during the Satsuma rebellion in 1877, the current keep is a concrete reconstruction built during the 1960’s. However, some of the other buildings are originals.
Hours : 08:30 to 18:00
Admission : 500 yen
Access : 10 mins walk from Kumamotojo-mae station on the Kumamoto municipal railway.