1. A layout designed for defense. Actually, if you`re making a castle I`m betting that one of the first things you want to think about is defense, meaning that every castle has some kind of defensive design, but in Himeji Castle`s case, it`s especially interesting. The barriers and etc were constructed to keep invading armies moving in a spiral-like pattern, making them easy targets for defending soldiers. You can look around the castle with a virtual tour and maybe see for yourself.
2. The decorative woodwork. Often appearing above doorways, the carving is double sided, and a lot of the ones I saw displayed birds. I was really impressed by the detail and beauty of it.You can't take photos inside the castle because of all the paintwork, etc, so you will have to find out for yourself!
3. There is a haunted well. Apparently, a maidservant, Okiku, uncovered a plot to overthrow her master, and warned him. When the plotters found out she had told, they broke some prized dishware and blamed it on her. For breaking the dishes she was killed and her body was thrown into a well. Her voice could be heard counting dishware thereafter. I`d heard about this story during my ukiyo-e class, where Okiku`s story was made into a print as part of Hokusai`s Hyaku Monogatari series.
4. It is full of pigeons that will poop on your head.
So step lively.