Built in the middle of the 14th century and gradually enlarged through the years, Himeji Castle is unrivaled for its size, as well as the beauty of its pure white tower which causes the castle to also be called "White Heron Castle." It is registered as one of the first Japanese World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and is the most visited castle in Japan. It has miraculously survived while many other Japanese castles were destroyed in the Meiji era or burned in World War II.
Although the castle has been repaired throughout its long history, Himeji City in Hyogo Prefecture has decided to start restoration work to conserve the castle permanently. The restoration work will assess the damage and repair the castle's roofing tiles and outer walls. The city has announced that the renovation will start on April 12th and last approximately three years. A building will be constructed to cover the main castle tower for restoration work, and it is expected the building will reach the stone wall around early May, cover half of the tower by late June, and cover the top by late November.
Although entry to the main castle tower will be forbidden from April 12th, 2010 to January 2011, visitors can enter other smaller towers, gardens and see a total of 74 national treasures. This is also a rare chance to witness how this memorable restoration is done and imagine how the castle was constructed during the Warring States period of Japan.
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