The world’s largest castle is located in Ibaraki, Japan. At over 350 meters long and 180 meters wide, the keep of the castle has a tower that reaches 41 meters high. The entire complex covers an area of 12 hectares and was completed in 1992. The walls are made from cedar wood, but the roof tiles are not; they were replaced by concrete for safety reasons during World War II, when many Japanese castles were burned down by US bombing raids.
However, one thing that did survive was the family crest on top of each wall, which depicts a dragon eating five cherry blossoms to symbolize victory against invaders from China or Korea who had been threatening Japan during the castle’s history.
The crest is supposed to bring good luck. The castle was built by the seventh ruler of the area, Naomasa Li, in the sixteenth century. It was used as a fortress rather than a residential family home, and so there are no quarters for women and children. Despite this, the castle was also a place where many important historical events took place. In 1614, Naomasa hosted a tea ceremony for the first time in Japan – a room dedicated to this event still exists today – and it was later used as a base for military plotting during World War II.