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Even a country like Japan which is rich in tradition and history will have a list that allows national treasures to rise to the top. Japan is well known throughout the world for its castles. Amongst both Japanese and foreigners, the “Three Famous Castles” of Japan are places that you must visit while in Japan. The “Three Famous Castles” of Japan are the Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture; Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture; and Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Himeji Castle is the most visited of the three and is known by many as the “White Heron” castle due to its Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecturebright white exterior. It is on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Sites. The castle was built over a number of years starting in 1333 and being completed in 1346. Like many castles in Japan, it features tall stone foundations. However, Himeji Castle is unique for its complex and confusing paths which lead to the main stronghold. These mazes of paths were constructed with many dead ends, thus providing a strategic advantage to those guarding the castle. Himeji Castle has been used extensively in both Japanese and foreign films. Amongst its credits include: Abarenbo Shogun; You Only Live Twice (James Bond); Kagemusha (film by Akira Kurosawa); Ran (film by Akira Kurosawa); The Last Samurai (starring Tom Cruise); and Shogun (miniseries staring Richard Chamberlin).

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