Himeji Castle and its iconic white plaster walls (photo courtesy Himeji Castle)

Japan’s Himeji Castle dates back to the 1300s but at the time it was just a fort on a hill. Its current form really took shape in the early 1600s and since then it has remained intact. And in 1993 it became one of Japan’s first landmarks to receive the UNESCO World Heritage Site declaration.

Himeji Castle is not only the largest castle in Japan but also the oldest surviving castle. The reason? “Battles were never fought here.” And to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the castle’s heritage status the castle is spreading this message of peace.

a full page ad promoting Himeji Castle (Kobe Shimbun)

The message is captured in this stunning full-page ad that appeared this week in local paper Kobe Shimbun. It was created by art director Usagi Hiromi, who worked with photographer Norihiko Okimura to create a long-exposure capture of the castle using just moonlight. The 12-hour shot was taken on the last full moon of 2022 and rendered the castle as almost a painting.

Since it was built 400 years ago, Himeji Castle appears unchanged. Hard to believe? It’s because battles were never fought here…They say the wise learn from history. So the next time you’re angry, think of this architectural beauty.

Of course sheer luck also played a part, but the message here is that we can choose peace, which is a great thought to carry into 2023.