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city, southwestern Hyogo ken (prefecture), western Honshu, Japan. It is situated west of Kobe, near the Inland Sea. It developed as a castle town around the white, five-storied Himeji, or Shirasagi ("Egret"), Castle, built in the 14th century and reconstructed in 1577 and 1964. The castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. A large part of the city was destroyed by bombing during World War II. Himeji recovered and grew rapidly after the war to become one of the prefecture's largest industrial centres. Its industries include iron, steel, textiles, and leather goods. Tourism is also important. Harima Science Garden City, just west of Himeji, is a large centre of high technology research. Pop. (2005 prelim.) 482,307.