Japan is filled with hundreds of castles scattered all over the country. Many of these castles have been built centuries ago, and a number have been restored especially after World War II. Some castles remain relatively intact, which make them architectural phenomenons that have amazed many people.
These remarkable castles housed samurais and feudal lords and contain the most fascinating histories. Here are some of the most exquisite Japanese castles that are a must visit.
A key element of Japanese castle architecture were the thick stone walls that were mainly used to protect the castles from cannons and firearms arriving from Europe. The castles were built to protect major routes that connected Japan’s primary cities.
Himeji castle is located in Hyogo Prefecture and is considered as the most famous castle in Japan. In 1993, this castle was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is popularly known as the “White Heron Castle”, symbolising its beautiful white colour and elegant structure. Himeji castle is built on a hill and houses 82 buildings inside its complex.
The castle was originally built in 1333 by a samurai warrior known as Akamatsu Nomura as a fortress. Since then, it has been extensively remodelled and rebuilt. The castle has managed to survive World War II without being damaged, making it one of only 12 surviving original castles in Japan.
Matsumoto Castle is located in Nagano Prefecture and is an extremely impressive castle with five stories of the central keep and has an additional level that is tactfully concealed. It is also known as Karasu-jo or the Crow Castle due to its black exterior. Matsumoto castle was built between the years 1593 and 1594 and has a series of moats, a fortress, and complicated sets of walls and gatehouses. The castle also makes up one of the only 12 surviving original castles in Japan.
Osaka Castle is one of the most popular castles in Japan. It is 8 stories high and is surrounded by massive defensive walls and a large moat. The castle dates back to around the 15th century, where warrior monks travelled from Kyoto to set up base there.
The Osaka castle today is a reproduction that was built in 1931 after 2 of the earlier castles were demolished, firstly by the Tokugawa government and secondly by the lighting-induced fire. The castle remained a ruin for almost 200 years, but today, it is the most visited castle in Japan.
Hiroshima castle became completed in 1589 and was designated as a National Treasure in 1931. Hiroshima Prefecture was initially developed as a castle town and the castle was the economic as well as the physical centre of the town, forming an important seat of the power for the west of Japan. It was unfortunately destroyed by the Atomic Bomb in 1945, long before we had sophisticated technology like NZ online roulette games.
The castle is famously known as the Castle of Carps because there were many carp that used to swim in the moat. Hiroshima castle has stunning views from the top observatory floor and it’s possible to get a panoramic view of the Miyajima Island and the city of Hiroshima from up there.