Secret Japan

Go to bottom Home • Forum & Guides • Tokyo Restaurants • Onsen • Album • Links • Search Forums • Rules • FAQ Go to top
Go to bottom Log in • Register • Staff Go to top
Calendar 
Japanese Castles [E]
 
View previous topic View printer-friendly version Search Display number of posts for each poster in this topic Export topic thread to a text file View next topic
Author Message
sanji
Mod

Offline
Avatar
Total posts: 715

Japan
PostYou have posted in this forum: Sun May 13, 2007 1:43 pm Back to top

Castles are typical landmarks in Japan. From the earliest centuries, when castles were made of wood and stones, only a couple of ruins remain. It is in the 16th century that the most beautiful japanese castles were built, and some of them can still be visited today. It is believed that up to 5000 castles existed in feudal Japan. Nowadays, about 50 remain in good condition, and many of them dating from the early Edo period (1603-1867) are worth the visit.

Keep in mind that some of the castles were completely rebuilt the last 50 years, including those of Osaka and Hiroshima. While those ones still retain their original architecture, they are only modern constructions and therefore often lack the feelings visitors can get from real, historical buildings...


I don't have the knowledge to write a historical guide on Japanese castles. Very unfortunately, as this is a truly fascinating subject... Before visiting a castle, you should take some time to read some historical background on the construction and use of castles.

I would strongly suggest those two references :
- Wikipedia - Japanese Castle
- Guide to Japanese Castles

The second link is a comprehensive site listing almost 100 castles, and allowing searching them by type, condition (original, reconstructed, ruins) and location. Plus, and this is the true originality of this site, castles are rated from 5 stars to 1 star. This ensures that visitors will be able to find the most interesting castles in the area they intend to visit... In this topic, we will use this scale (thanks to Eric, the webmaster, for allowing that).


On the Guide to Japanese Castles web sites, castles are rated from 5 to 1, a scale that allow visitors to pick-up the best castles in the area they are visiting. This is a very useful tool, and we use it here, too.

Download Post
sanji
Mod

Offline
Avatar
Total posts: 715

Japan
PostYou have posted in this forum: Tue May 15, 2007 10:00 am Back to top

4 stars castles

Those castles are really interesting, and you should attempt to visit them if you pass it their vicinity. The rating criteria are defined as following :

Description: castles tend to be smaller original donjon with fewer or no surrounding structures. Some may be reconstructions of historically important castles and have a number of supporting structures or a castle town.
Itinerary: If you are visiting the area you should add this to your schedule.
Audience: Non castle fans will enjoy a trip here too.

Pictures and texts are from www.jcastle.info. Reproduced with permission.





4 BLUE

Azuchi Castle



4 BLUE

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle



4 BLUE

Fukuoka Castle



4 RED

Fukuyama Castle



4 GREEN

Hirosaki Castle



4 GREEN

Inuyama Castle



4 GREEN

Kakunodate Castle



4 GREEN

Kochi Castle



4 GREEN

Marugame Castle



4 GREEN

Maruoka Castle



4 RED

Nagoya Castle



4 BLUE

Oka Castle



4 RED

Okayama Castle



4 RED

Osaka Castle



4 RED

Ozu Castle



4 RED

Shimabara Castle



4 BLUE

Takeda Castle



4 GREEN

Uwajima Castle




Legend : original building      reconstructed      ruins




Azuchi Castle (安土城) - Shiga-ken - ruins from 1576
Image 469No building is left, but the remaining stones are attractive and give a good idea of the structure. The main donjon was 7 stories high and is thought to have been the largest multi-storied wooden building in the world at that time.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/22-Azuchi-Castle





Bitchu Matsuyama Castle (備中松山城) - Okayama - original building from 1683

Image 470The highest castle in Japan at an altitude of 480 meters.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/23-Bitchu-Matsuyama-Castle





Fukuoka Castle (福岡城) - Fukuoka-ken - ruins from 1601

Image 471The main donjon is though to have been dismantled just a couple of years after completion. A fire in the early 20th century achieved to destroy the structure, part of which were later rebuilt.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/78-Fukuoka-Castle





Fukuyama Castle (福山城) - Hiroshima-ken - reconstructed in 1966

Image 472A concrete reconstruction of this castle which was one of the greatest in Japan in the Edo period. It was destroyed mostly by US air bombing.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/70-Fukuyama-Castle





Hirosaki Castle (弘前城) - Aomori-ken - original building from 1611

Image 473A 3-levels donjon on spacious grounds. The original castle had 5 levels, but it was destroyed by lightening in 1627, to be rebuilt smaller in 1810.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/43-Hirosaki-Castle




Inuyama Castle (犬山城) - Aichi-ken - original building from 1637

Image 474Once the only privately owned castle in Japan, it belongs now to the Aichi prefecture. A small and nice castle close to Gifu and Nagoya.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/46-Inuyama-Castle





Kakunodate Castle (角館城) - Akita-ken - original building from 1620

Image 487Kakunodate was the largest castle town in the Akita prefecture, but only ruins are remaining of the castle. Those are located on the top of Mt. Furushiroyama. Even if there is nothing left to see there, the town of Kakunodate is still worth a visit, as it offers a very nice area called the samurai district, where old samurai houses can still be visited. Another nice spot is the nearby river, where hundreds of cherry trees blossom in early spring.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/15-Kakunodate-Castle
www.samuraiworld.com





Kochi Castle (高知城) - Kochi-ken - original building from 1603

Image 475A large part of the castle – including the donjon – burned down in 1727, to be rebuilt 25 years later. An interesting feature of this castle is that all the structures from the original honmaru (the castle keep) remain.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/51-Kochi-Castle





Marugame Castle (丸亀城) - Kagawa-ken - original building from 1597
Image 476Ikoma Chikamasa, the lord of the Sanuki area originally ruled from Takamatsu Castle. While there, he built and moved to Marugame Castle. This castle was decomissioned as part of the one castle per country law in 1615. It was resurrected in 1641 and rebuilt into what we see today.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/9-Marugame-Castle





Maruoka Castle (丸岡城) - Fukui-ken - original building from 1576

Image 477The castle was built by Shibata Katsutoyo in 1576. The keep was destroyed by the Fukui earthquake of 1948, but it was rebuilt using 80% of the original materials in 1955. That keep is considered as one of the oldest in Japan, along with those of Inuyama and Matsumoto castles.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/4-Maruoka-Castle





Nagoya Castle (名古屋城) - Aichi-ken - reconstructed

Image 478Nagoya-jo is famous for the 2 golden shachihoko that adorn the top of its donjon. That is why it is also known as "Kinshachi-jo." Kin means "gold" and shachi refers to the killer whale type mythical creatures that sit atop the donjon and other castle structures. This castle would probably have been the most beautiful in Japan... if it hadn't had been destroyed during the WWII.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/





Oka Castle (岡城) - Oita-ken - ruins from 1185

Image 480A very old castle, originally founded by Minamoto no Yoshitsune in 1185. The castle was improved and expanded in 1594, when a donjon and a palace were added. The construction was destroyed by an earthquake during the Edo Period. During the Meiji Restoration, all remaining buildings were dismantled leaving only some of the stone walls we see today.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/





Okayama Castle (岡山城) - Okayama-ken - reconstructed in 1965

Image 481Ukita Naoie began the construction of this castle in 1573, but it was not completed until 1597 by his son Hideie. The castle is also known as "crow castle" due to its black exterior. This is another great castle that was destroyed during the WWII in 1945. The concrete building that visitors can be seen today was built in 1965. There are nice views on the castle from the Korakuen park, on the opposite shore of the river.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/72-Okayama-Castle





Osaka Castle (大阪城) - Osaka-fu - reconstructed in 1931

Image 482Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Osaka-jo in 1583, designing the most formidable castle ever built in Japan. One large moat surrounded the whole castle, and the inner grounds contained 3 levels that had to be scaled-up to reach the donjon. Even with such impressive defenses, the castle fell to the Tokugawa forces. In 1620 Tokugawa completely renovated the castle, built a new donjon, thus making the whole structure even bigger and grander than the original. In 1665, the donjon was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. It was only rebuilt in 1931 (concrete construction).


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/61-Osaka-Castle





Ozu Castle (大洲城) - Ehime-ken - reconstructed in 2004

Image 483The first fortifications on this site were constructed in 1331 by Utsunomiya Toyofusa. From 1585-1617 the castle was ruled by a quick succession of lords including Kobayakawa Takakage, Toda Katsutaka, Todo Takatora and Wakisaka Yasuharu. The castle you see today was modeled after the construction built at that time, as the donjon was destroyed in 1888. The reconstruction was completed in 2004, and it is worth to underline that the building was made in wood using traditional methods, instead of the concrete found in most reconstructions.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/82-Ozu-Castle





Shimabara Castle (島原城) - Nagasaki-ken - reconstructed in 1964

Image 484The Arima clan, who were Christian lords, ruled over the Southern part of the Shimabara Peninsula from Hinoe Castle and Hara Castle. The Tokugawa had originally been tolerant of Christianity but from 1614 they changed policy and expelled the missionaries. The castle was later disassembled during the Meiji Period.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/73-Shimabara-Castle





Takeda Castle (竹田城) - Hyogo-ken - ruins

Image 485Castle built in 1441. It felt in two major steps. First was Hideyoshi's conquest of Tajima in 1577. Takeda Castle was conquered along with the Yamana. The second step came with the fall of Akamatsu Hirohide, the last lord of the castle, how committed seppuku; the castle was then abandoned. There are no buildings left on the site of Takeda Castle today.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/11-Takeda-Castle





Uwajima Castle (宇和島城) - Ehime-ken - original building from 1596

Image 486Todo Takatora built this castle after being granted the small fiefdom around it by Toyotomi Hiodeyoshi in 1595. The basic territory and layout of the castle did not change from that time...


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/10-Uwajima-Castle

Download Post
sanji
Mod

Offline
Avatar
Total posts: 715

Japan
PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:14 am Back to top

5 stars castles

Those castles are the most interesting in Japan, and should be included in any itinerary passing in their area. The rating criteria are defined as following :

Description: castles tend to have an original donjon and several supporting structures (moats, baileys, gates, castle town atmosphere).
Itinerary: These are historical treasures and it is worth the effort to go out of your way to visit them.
Audience: Everyone will enjoy a visit here.

Pictures and texts are from www.jcastle.info. Reproduced with permission.





5 GREEN

Hikone Castle



5 GREEN

Himeji Castle



5 GREEN

Hirosaki Castle



5 BLUE

Kanazawa Castle



5 RED

Kumamoto Castle



5 GREEN

Matsue Castle



5 GREEN

Matsumoto Castle



5 RED

Iyo Matsuyama Castle



5 BLUE

Nijo Castle



5 RED

Shuri Castle




Legend : original building      reconstructed      ruins





Hikone Castle (彦根城) - Shiga-ken - original building from 1603

Image 389A famous historical site designated a National Treasure. When the Meiji era began in 1868, many castles were scheduled to be dismantled; it is only because of an express request of the Emperor that this castle was spared...


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/36-Hikone-Castle





Himeji Castle (姫路城) - Hyogo-ken - original building from 1601

Image 462The most famous castle in Japan! It is also one of the most accessible, located in the center of Himeji City 50 kilometers west of Kobe. The shinkansen stops there, and it takes just 10-15 by foot from station to reach the castle. It was registered in 1993 on the UNESCO's World Heritage list - being the first Japanese site on this famous list. Nicknamed "White Heron" because of its characteristic white walls, it reaches 46.4 meters high. Visitors are amazed by the design of the defenses, which creates an effective maze of walls and building around the main tower. Himeji Castle was built from 1601 over an older fort by Terumasa Ikeda (son-in-law of the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa). Although it was an important defensive position for that shogunate, the castle was never damaged by wars, and still today retains its original construction - an impressive feature when you remember that it is mostly made of wood.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/32-Himeji-Castle
www.himeji-castle.gr.jp/index/English





Kanazawa Castle (金沢城) - Ishikawa-ken - ruins from 1580 (burned down in 1602)

Image 461Kanazawa Castle was the headquarters of the powerful Maeda clan from 1583. The castle, which was built in 1580, burned down a first time just a few years later, in 1602. Further fires almost completely destroyed the structure, the latest in 1881, and the only part remaining is the Ishikawa Gate which dates from 1788. Today, most of the surface of the former castle is occupied by a grassy area which serves as a park for citizen.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/7-Kanazawa-Castle
www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kanazawajou/index_e.html






Hirosaki Castle (弘前城) - Aomori-ken - original building from 1611

Image 1285The 3 level donjon of Hirosaki-jo seems disproportionately small when compared to the huge estate encompassed by the castle today. Hirosaki-jo was originally built with a 5 level donjon which was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1627. The donjon was not rebuilt until 1810. The yagura no longer exists and the donjon stands alone. Hirosaki-jo has the only extant donjon to the east of Matsumoto-jo (Nagano prefecture) making it a historical treasure of the Tohoku region. Hirosaki-jo is famous throughout Japan for the more than 2600 cherry trees that fill its grounds today.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/43-Hirosaki-Castle





Kumamoto Castle (熊本城) - Kumamoto-ken - reconstructed in 1960 (original was from 1607)

Image 466A large castle built by Kato Kiyomasa. It suffered several damages, and finally was destroyed the 19th of February 1877 during the Satsuma Rebellion, after sustaining a 53- days siege.

The donjon (the central part of the castle) is a concrete reconstruction dating from 1960, but there are still older parts that can be seen. The castle has undergo some major restoration for several years, which is now completed. It seems that the result is stunning...


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/8-Kumamoto-Castle





Matsue Castle (松江城) - Shimane-ken - original building from 1603

Image 463Of all castles I have seen in Japan, this is my favorite one: a truly original building, entirely made of wood, in nice surroundings and with relatively few tourists; a great place to visit...

While most of the Japanese castles were destroyed either during the wars or by natural disasters, Matsue Castle still has some of its original wooden construction; of course many parts were rebuilt later, but in the same construction style - using wood and not concrete. This castle is one of the 12 original castles remaining in Japan; it is the second largest and third tallest, with its donjon rising at 30m. The view from the top floor on the town and the nearby lake is stunning.

That tower is the only remaining building of the castle, as all other were destroyed in 1875. On the grounds, there is now a beautiful two-storied western-style structure built in 1903, Matsue Kyodo Kan, which hosts a regional museum


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/26-Matsue-Castle
www.city.matsue.shimane.jp/kankou/jp/e/castle.htm





Matsumoto Castle (松本城) - Nagano-ken - original building from 1590

Image 465After Himeji-jo, Matsumoto-jo is the next best extant castle donjon in Japan. Built by Ishikawa Kazumasa and his son Yasunaga in 1590, Matsumoto-jo is designated a National Treasure.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/53-Matsumoto-Castle





Iyo Matsuyama Castle (伊予松山城) - Ehime-ken - original building from 1603

Image 467Matsuyama Castle was built from 1602 to 1627 in Matsuyama city in Ehime Prefecture. This castle was originally built by Yoshiaki Kato. The donjon was destroyed by lightning in 1784, to be rebuilt from 1820. During the Second World War, many of the structures were destroyed. Since 1966, a restoration work by the local authorities started.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/33-Iyo-Matsuyama-Castle





Nijo Castle (二条城) - Kyoto-fu - ruins from 1603

Image 464In 1601 Tokugawa Ieyasu (the founder of Tokugawa Shogunate) ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of the Nijō Castle. This construction was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626.

The original structure was destroyed in 1750 (donjon burned to the ground by lightening) and 1788 (Inner Palace destroyed by a huge fire). Nowadays, visitors can still enjoy the sight of the Ninomaru Palace, where the declaration of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, returning the authority to the Imperial Court in 1867, was signed.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/58-Nijo-Castle
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nijo_Castle





Shuri Castle (首里城) - Okinawa-ken - reconstructed in 1992

Image 468The inner area of this castle was complete in the early 15th century, and the outer one in the mid-16th Century. Being isolated from the rest of the country, Shuri Castle do not resemble to the castles found on the main japanese island, but rather shows a strong influence of Chinese architecture. Shurijo Castle was both the royal residence for the king and his family and the administrative center of the Shurijo Royal Government, and also served as a religious center.

The castle was completely destroyed in 1945 by US military raids. The present structure was modeled after the 18th Century facility.


link : www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/69-Shuri-Castle
www.shurijo.com/english/index.html


Last edited by sanji on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:14 am; edited 5 times in total

Download Post
senpai
Offline
Total posts: 8

Japan
PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:40 am Back to top

You should update the information on Kumamoto Castle. The renovations are completed and it's absolutely fantastic to visit it.

Wikipedia:
Kumamoto Castle recently celebrated its 400th anniversary. On Dec 7, 2007, a large-scale renovation of the Lord`s Inner Palace was completed. A public ceremony for the restoration was held April 20, 2008.

Download Post
Josh
Offline
Total posts: 2

USA
PostYou have posted in this forum: Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:28 pm Back to top

Hi,
I just wanted to post this small apiece on Takatori Castle Ruins in Nara:
http://www.grand-island-serene-gardens.com/japanese-castles.html

Has anyone else hiked up there? It really is a nice place with a great view as it's one of Japan's top mountain castles.

Download Post
Display posts from previous:


 Jump to:   



  View previous topic View printer-friendly version Search Display number of posts for each poster in this topic Export topic thread to a text file View next topic

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
Lo-Fi Version
91107 Attacks blocked :: Protected by phpBB Security © phpBB-Amod :: phpBB Security ©  Has Blocked 2,137 Exploit Attempts.
@ 2007 The Integra Team @ 2007 phpBB Group
:: Style IntegraMod © IntegraMod Team 2008 :: All times are GMT + 1 Hour ::

[Page generation time: 0.9811s (PHP: 90% | SQL: 10%) | SQL queries: 98 | GZIP disabled | Debug on]