One of the first things a tourist notices while visiting Japan is that the castles are entirely different from those in Europe. Instead of stone, they are composed of wood. This may either be explained by the geology or culture of the country. Whatever the reason, it is fun to walk through these beautiful old buildings on their creaky wooden floors.
Above is the first castle I ever visited while living in Japan. It is the unique Shuri-jō Castle near Naha in Okinawa. It was first constructed in 1429, and during World War II it was used as a Japanese command post. However, it was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa by Allied bombing. It was later rebuilt, and its style is slightly different from the major castles on Honshu Island to the north. In 2000 it was designated as a World Heritage Site, but regrettably in 2019 it was again destroyed by a fire. The rebuilding has already begun!