Cooperation agreement between Himeji Castle in Japan and Neuschwanstein

To celebrate the reopening of the restored Himeji Castle in the eponymous city in Japan, a cooperation agreement with Neuschwanstein Castle was signed on 26th March 2015 in the presence of the Bavarian representative in Japan.

Dr. Christian Geltinger und Herr Toshikatsu IWAMI, Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Himeji, bei der Vertragsunterzeichnung. Im Hintergrund eine der vier offiziellen "Schloßköniginnen".
Dr. Christian Geltinger und Herr Toshikatsu IWAMI, Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Himeji, bei der Vertragsunterzeichnung. Im Hintergrund eine der vier offiziellen "Schloßköniginnen".

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 14th Century Himeji Castle complex is considered one of Japan's most significant buildings. The castle was presented to the public in all its glory on 26th March, following five years of painstaking renovation. It is also known as “White Heron Castle” due to its colour. The ceremonial opening also included the conclusion of a partnership with Bavaria's most popular tourist attraction, which is also dedicated to a white bird: Neuschwanstein Castle. 

The agreement was signed on the Japanese side by Mr Ido, Governer of Hyogo Ido prefecture, and Mr Iwami, mayor of the city of Himeji, and on the Bavarian side by Bavarian State Minister Dr Söder (in advance and represented by video) and Dr Geltinger, Head of the Bavarian representative office in Japan. A high-ranking delegation from the town of Füssen, led by the Ambassador of Eastern Allgäu and initiator of the partnership Mr Schwecke and Füssen's mayor Mr Iacob, attended the ceremony and lent particular weight to the close ties between Bavaria and Japan. 

The general guiding principles for the cooperation were defined as part of a friendship agreement signed on 5th November 2014 in the Singers' Hall at Neuschwanstein.

One of the key aims of the partnership is to exchange experience in the field of “sustainable tourism”. This is a big challenge facing both Neuschwanstein and Himeji Castle. The key will be to continue welcoming millions of visitors from all over the world, while preserving these wonderful cultural sites for future generations. In addition, expertise on both castles and their regions is to be communicated and deepened through education and entertainment. 

In the cooperation agreement itself, the goals are described as follows:
“Neuschwanstein in the Federal Republic of Germany and Himeji Castle in Japan intend to make a contribution to the further development of both regions and to international friendship through the preservation, promotion and global dissemination of their culture and fascination.”