Himeji Castle

Photo Credit: Unesco.org & Iemoji.com

Japanese Castle

After a quick survey in our office, we discovered that hardly anyone knew what this emoji actually represents. Is it a house? Is it a temple? Nope! It’s a traditional Japanese Castle with multiple rings of defense - typically made from stone and wood. The construction of castles erupted in 15th Century Japan as the central government weakened, leaving states to war with one another. However, many were destroyed in the wake of WWII or as unwelcomed reminders of the past. Some originals still exist, though, and are considered one of Japan's spectacular visual treasures. The Himeji Castle, located in Himeji City, in the Hyogo Prefecture, is one of Japan's twelve original castles that stands as both a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. For more information on the castle and visiting, click here.  

Did you know that "emoji" comes from Japanese meaning "picture character"? In fact, those little smiley faces and tiny bowls of food we've come to rely on when we're texting all our friends actually originated in Japan in the 90's; some of the emoticons actually have corresponding, real life locations in Asia. 

Now that 'smiley-face', 'high-five' and 'meh-face' are taking their own wild "app-venture" in the new blockbuster, The Emoji Movie, it's high time we hit the road and find the actual Japanese landmarks represented by some of our favorite pictograms. Click through and travel across Japan with a few of our favorite tiny icons.

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