The Himeji castle is regarded as ”the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture” and it includes 83 buildings with defensive systems. It is the largest and most visited castle in all Japan and it is protected under the UNESCO stamp. What’s even more interesting about the castle is the various local legends and folklore stories that follow it. Various ghost stories and other legends present the castle as a setting for many weird events that we will possibly know for sure if they actually happened and if so, if they took place there.
The Kaidan ghost story
Mainly, this is a typical ghost story, where a man named Okiku was falsely accused of losing dishes, was killed and thrown into the well.
Okiku’s ghost is said to still be entrapped in the castle
The legend says that Okiku’s ghost counts dishes at night making a very distinctive sound. The well where he was supposedly thrown in is still in the premises of the castle.
The legend of the ‘Old Widow’s Stone’
This is another folklore story that surrounds the castle up until this day.
A man called Toyotomi Hideyoshi run out of stones while building a three-story keep
A woman who heard about his trouble offered him her millstone even though she needed it for her work. This action inspired other people to offer him stones to finish his work.
Sakurai Genbei’s folklore story
According to the story, Sakurai was the carpenter of the keep and he was very dissatisfied when he saw the results of his construction.
He felt that his construction leaned to the southeast and he was very disappointed
Eventually, he couldn’t bear the weight of his mistake and went to the top of the keep and jumped off with a chisel in his mouth.
The castle is over 400 years old and its construction finished in 1609
The Sannomaru contains of a large, cherry tree lined lawn, and is a popular spot for taking photos of the castle and for viewing cherry blossoms.
The Otemon Gate is where most visitors enter the premises of the castle
The Himeji castle is a large complex that visitors may or may not see in its entirety. Those who finish their walk around the paid grounds can choose to pay a little extra money and continue to the west bailey, where a princess used to reside.