Himeji is a city on the south-western coast of Honshu, Japan near Kobe. Notable landmarks include the 10th-century Buddhist temple (Shoshazan Enkyo-ji) and the stunning Himeji Castle (Shirasagi-jo), begun in the 14th century and now designated a National Treasure of Japan and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built on a high bluff and dominating the city, it is the grandest of Japan's 12 remaining feudal castles and the ultimate samurai castle with its formidable combination of moats, thick walls and high barriers. It is also known as Shiragasi (the white egret) a name that derives from the castle's noble white form.
Himeji Kokoen, the impressive samurai quarters, are just outside the castle walls, and the Hyogo History Museum is a showcase for the surviving relics from the region. Other attractions include Koko-en Gardens, Hyogo Prefectural Museum, the City Museum of Literature and The Doll House Museum. Nearby you can also visit the Miho Museum, which houses an impressive collection of ancient Japanese artifacts. Tucked into a mountain slope and designed by world-famous architect I.M. Pei, this unique structure is mostly hidden underground.
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