The impenetrable Himeji castle

The impenetrable Himeji castle

Over centuries of feudal warring and refined military strategy, the sweeping roofs and alabaster walls of the samurai castle at Himeji have remarkably remained untouched and uncaptured, perhaps in testament to its powerful aura as much as its innovative design. In a country with the misfortunate renown of its best historical buildings going up in flames from lighting strikes or the ire of unstable monks, there seems to be something magical protecting Himeji, far beyond its creatively engineered defences; during an allied attack in the Second World War, a firebomb made a direct hit on the castle and, miraculously, it remained unexploded and the castle survived while the rest of town burnt to the ground. Walk the spiraling maze-like approach to the castle keep, sidestepping the dead ends and stone-dropping holes, and you’ll see once again that the extraordinary and unexplained meet often in The Land of the Rising Sun.

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