Japan's Self-Defence Forces usually occupy themselves with training to protect their country, but they're not shy about pitching in to help their local community. The Ground Rangers and also ordinary citizens volunteered to make Himeji Castle spotless in time for the new year. They were also tasked with de-weeding and picking up litter in the surrounding gardens. Himeji Castle is known for it’s pure white exterior, giving it the nickname ‘White Heron Castle’. As this video shows, the castle’s beautiful aesthetic doesn’t come about without a little elbow grease.

A long history of war, natural disasters and fires mean Japan has few original castles left, Himeji is one of just twelve remaining.

Not only is the big clean an exercise in appreciation and preservation of national history, but also a great chance for the forces to practice scaling walls as the below video from last year shows.

It’s no wonder that tourism in Japan continues to rise when they take such pride in conserving their national treasures, looks like Operation Clean-up was a sparkling success!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.