Hiroyasu Imura, a 69-year-old former insurance examiner, is staying busy in retirement: he has spent 19 years pursuing his boyhood dream of making a replica of the Himeji Castle:
Imura also studied reference materials to reproduce structures that no longer exist. He made repeated trips to Himeji Castle to confirm details in drawings and to count the number of stones in stairways. He once dropped a rope surreptitiously to measure the height of a stone wall while trying to avoid being noticed by a security guard.
His most difficult challenge was reproducing the stone walls. He bought stone plates, broke them into pieces several centimeters in size and then assembled the pieces in molds to reproduce the slanting walls of the castle.
Concrete was poured into the molds to solidify them — a process that took 12 years to complete.
Hiroyasu isn't only a talented model builder, he's also a smart husband:
Some visitors call Imura "lord of the castle" and ask if they can take photographs with him. "I am just a master builder," he responds and describes his wife as "the lord of the castle."