Change of Lords

Himeji was an important position for the Tokugawa Government because it controlled the feudal lords in the western part of Japan. Therefore, the Tokugawa Government posted hereditary feudal lords in Himeji Castle. Then the government replaced young or sickly lords.
So there were 31 lords sent to Himeji Castle during the Tokugawa Period or Edo Period In the Meiji Period (1868 to 1912)Himeji Castle was to be torn down by the government policy. But it was saved by Colonel Nakamura Shigeto who was the Fourth Deputy Director of the Ministry of the Army.
The castle also escaped from being bombed during World War 2.

The Auctioning of Himeji Castle

All the castles were owned by the Meiji Government because the land and people were returned to the emperor in 1869. With the abolition of the feudal system these castles became obsolete and in addition a lot of money was required for the preservation of the castles.
Himeji Castle was put up for auction and Mr. Kanbe of Himeji made a bid for the castle with only 23 yen and 50 sen(about 200,000 yen or $1,900 today). He wanted to develop the land but he gave up because the cost of destroying the castle was too high. No details about it is known.

The Stone Monument of Colonel Nakamura

Corridors and gates were destroyed to build barracks for the Tenth Infantry, and the main tower complex was also to be destroyed. Colonel Nakamura influenced the Chief of the Army, Yamagata Aritomo and the castle was kept by the Ministry of the Army as the representative castle along with Nagoya Castle. The monument has been set up inside Diamond Gate or Hishi Gate to honor Colonel Nakamura.
Today, famous castles such as Kumamoto Castle and Nagoya Castle have not kept their original structures. So Himeji Castle is the important cultural heritage and the most famous and beautiful one in Japan.

Four Castles Designated as National Treasures
Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)
Hikone Castle (Shiga Prefecture)
Inuyama Castle (Aichi Prefecture)