One of Japan's many UNESCO heritage sites, Himeji Castle is perhaps the most visually striking. It's towering, white facade gives the castle both an elegant yet imposing nature. This dichotomy makes it a favorite tourist destination and a national treasure.
The entire Himeji Castle complex was completed in 1609. Located at a strategic point along the Western approach to Kyoto, the castle was meant to be a crucial seat of power in feudal Japan.
After the feudal system was abolished in Japan, a Himeji resident purchased the castle at auction for 23 Japanese Yen, equating to roughly $2,300 USD when adjusted for inflation. The new owner originally wanted to tear down the castle and build on the land, but dismantling the castle entirely proved too costly.
Today, the impressive structure is the most visited castle in all of Japan and regarded as a "masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal."