Himejijo (White Heron Castle)

Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, Honshu, Japan

Although the site had been fortified at least since the time of the Northern and Southern Courts (1336-1392), the present structure was started after the battle of Sekigehara (1600). Following the battle, Ikeda Terumasa (son-in-law of Tokugawa Ieyasu) was rewarded by being assigned to govern the western provinces. He started construction in 1601, first removing a three-story donjon that had been built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1581. Construction was completed in 1609.