- "Bushido is realized in the presence of death. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. There is no other reasoning."
– Yamamoto Tsunetomo
- +15% combat strength for units fighting in friendly territory.
- Free Castle in the city
Another purely defensive Wonder, the Himeji Castle makes units defending your lands stronger, as opposed to slowing down the enemy like the Great Wall. An interesting strategy for a player seeking a domination victory is to build the Wonder to prevent enemies from gaining a universal 15% strength in their territory. This may only be achievable on lower difficulties, as most warmongers will have started their wars by now, and would benefit more from making units than making this wonder.
Himeji Castle can also be useful offensively because the combat bonus also applies to conquered enemy cities, which can serve as forward bases, giving you a strong safe zone to retreat to when your army is wounded.
Note that, as with other similar promotions, units sitting in friendly territory attacking enemies outside of your territory will not get the bonus for attacking. This is because the battleground is considered to be the tile where the defending unit is, not the attacker, so you'll only get an attack bonus against enemy units who are actually inside your territory; similarly, your units only gain the defensive bonus when they are actually inside your territory. For example, you will not gain the bonus if an enemy inside your territory fires upon your unit outside of your territory, because the battleground location is the defending unit's position and Himeji Castle only affects battles taking place inside your territory.
Finally, if you plan on building Himeji Castle in a city, don't build a Castle there.
Himeji Castle is an extraordinary Japanese castle and one of the most beautiful structures in the world. First constructed in the 14th century and then massively rebuilt and extended in the late 16th-early 17th by Kuroda Yoshitaka and Ikeda Terumasa, Himeji Castle is a tall, imposing multi-story structure constructed of stone and wood, and featuring a brilliant white exterior and a series beautifully curved rooftops. It is nicknamed "White Heron Castle."
Himeji Castle is surrounded by a confusing maze of paths leading to the keep. The walls and gates were designed to force an invading army to travel in a series of concentric circles with many dead ends before reaching the main gate. This would string out the attackers and allow the defenders to fire on the vanguard many times during the approach. The ingenious system was not put to the test, as the castle was never attacked during the medieval era.
Although the surrounding area was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, the castle was almost entirely unscathed. It is currently undergoing major restoration, and it remains one of the most popular tourist sites in Japan.