White Heron Castle

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White Heron Castle

Some of the castles in Japan have beautiful nicknames. As Osaka Castle is called Nishiki Jo(Brocade Castle) and Sendai Castle is called Aoba Jo(Green Leaf Castle), so Himeji Castle is called either Hakuro Jo or Shirasagi Jo (Both mean White Heron Castle in Japanese.)
It is so called because it is covered with white plaster in contrast with Okayama Castle (U Jo or Carasu Jo-Both mean Crow Castle.) Both castles lie along Sanyodo which was the main route to Edo where the Shogun lived in the Edo Period or Tokugawa Period.)
There are some reasons why this castle is called "White Heron Castle." Perhaps the name of White Heron Castle comes from the fact that many night herons used to live in this area, and the castle looks like a white heron in flight.
But again, the name may come from the fact that part of the castle lies atop the hill called Sagi (Heron)Mountain. In the Japanese language White Heron Castle is properly read "Hakuro Jo".

Tatami Mats in Main Tower

On each floor of Main Tower there are Kamoi (lintels) and Shikii (sills). The preservation work has shown that there might be Tobusuma(wooden sliding doors) and tatami mats in only some parts of the tower. If tatami mats had been on all floors, some 1,215 mats (1,968.3 square meters) would have been needed.

The Castle Built by Hideyoshi

Part of the three-storied tower built by Hideyoshi was thought to have been left on the present castle grounds. But Showa Restoration(1956 to1964) showed that it had been destroyed by Ikeda Terumasa when he had built the present main tower and Hideyoshi's tower had been a small one with an area of about 55 square meters or 7meters square.

Picture of Hideyoshi's Castle made in the late Tokugawa Period.