Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Hyogo Prefecture, attracted the biggest number of visitors among the nation's historical castles in fiscal 2015, it emerged this week.

Himeji Castle attracted 2,867,051 visitors, taking the No. 1 spot for the first time. Among them, overseas visitors surpassed a record-high 300,000.

The surge in popularity is largely attributed to its reopening in March 2015 after a 5½-year major refurbishment.

The previous record for visitors to Himeji Castle was about 1.74 million in fiscal 1964.

In fiscal 2015, Osaka Castle came in second with 2,337,000 visitors, Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, was third with 1,875,000, Nijo Castle in the city of Kyoto fourth with 1,776,000, and Kumamoto Castle in the city of Kumamoto fifth with 1,775,000.

"We will work hard to continue to attract a lot of visitors this year," an official at the Himeji Castle management office said.