Sendai Castle ruins constructed in 1602 and served as a residence of the Date family for about 270 years. As you wander through the ruins, stone walls and Otemon Gate Corner Tower remind you of the old times.
The statue of Date Masamune on a horseback stands on where used to be the castle tower of the Sendai Castle.
Kaminoyama Castle, located in the center of the Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture was built in the Hirayama style on a hilltop in 1535 by Kaminoyama Clan. The castle houses a museum inside to explore its rich local history and an observation deck at the top of the castle where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the town and Mount Zao. The surrounding park is crowded in spring with visitors who want to see the cherry blossoms.
Yamagata Castle is a flatland-style castle located at the center of Yamagata city. It was the fifth largest castle in Japan and was in use until 1872. It was also known as Kasumigajo. Yamagata Castle is well known for the authentic wooden reconstruction of the East Gate. There were over 1000 cherry blossom trees planted on the castle remains, and is one of the popular destination for cherry blossom viewing every year in April.
Just an hour away from Tokyo, Odawara Castle is probably the closest fortress to Tokyo where you can get a sense of the Sengoku period. The five-storied castle exhibits the castle history as well as displays items such as armor and swords at the lower grounds, while the top floor offers nice views of the surrounding city. Odawara Castle is well-known for its park, the Odawara Castle Park with plum trees, cherry trees and ajisai bloom in different seasons. Odawara is also a gateway to Hakone onsen area where the mountain railway is located.
Takada Castle is an Edo-period Japanese castle built in a flatland at the center of Joetsu city of Niigata Prefecture. It was one of the Tokugawa public work projects which involved 13 regional lords to complete its construction in 4 months. It's different from other castles in Japan in the sense that it has no stone walls or main tower, but the two nearby rivers acted as moats of defence. There are over 4,000 cherry trees around the castle and every spring it attracts millions of visitors as a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.
Built in 1583, Kanazawa Castle remains as an important cultural property and a stone wall museum today despite most parts of the castle were burnt down and reconstructed over the past decades due to war and natural disasters.
The castle is located adjacent to the famous Kenrokuen Garden, which was once the castle's private outer garden. Both sites are must-sees on a visit to Kanazawa.
The castle park and its Gyokusen Inmaru Garden are illuminated on the evenings of Friday, Saturday and the day before holiday between sunset and 9pm offering special light shows change with the seasons.
From and To
Nagano / Matsumoto / Karuizawa / Hakuba / Kamikochi
Matsumoto castle located in Nagano prefecture was constructed in the late 16th century by a feudal lord, Ishikawa Yasunaga. It is one of the five castles designated as a 'National Treasure' and the oldest wooden castle donjon remaining in Japan. Because of its black lacquered weatherboards and white stucco walls, Matsumoto castle is called “ Crow Castle”. With the Japanese Alps in the background and a contrasting red bridge spanning the moat, you will enjoy the beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
The Ueda Castle was originally constructed in 1583 by Sanada Masayuki, a well-known samurai lord. The formidable Tokugawa forces, which later governed the nation, was stopped by the renowned warrior castle.
One of the best places in Nagano to see cherry blossoms is Ueda Castle Park, which hosts a number of events including its annual Sen-Bon Sakura (1000 Cherry Trees) Festival in the middle of April. The Row of Keyaki Trees and Autumn Leaves Festival at Ueda Castle is held every November and draws hundreds of visitors. With the bright yellow ginkgo trees and the deep crimson maple leaves, you will enjoy the magnificent Ueda Castle.
From and To
Izu Peninsula / Hamamatsu / Shizuoka / Gotemba Premium Outlets
Sumpu Castle Park located just 1.5km away from Shizuoka Station in Shizuoka city was originally constructed in 1585. The castle is famous as the home of legendary shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who spent his young years and the end of his like here. The park is surrounded by stone walls and two moats, and is a popular place for locals for jogging, picnicking and walking. The park also features shrine, four Japanese tea house where you can get a taste of authentic Japanese culture.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, lived in Hamamatsu Castle from 1542 to 1616 . There are a number of displays and artifacts from the Tokugawa era, including armor, swords, and other artifacts inside the castle, which attract people who are interested in Japanese history. If the weather is nice, you can catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from the 3rd floor viewing deck. It's one of the most well-known locations in Hamamatsu to observe cherry blossoms in the spring.
Nagoya Castle was built by Ieyasu Tokunaga for his ninth son, Yoshinao in the early 17th century. The castle is famous for the 2 golden shachihoko ornaments, an animal in Japanese folklore with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp placed on the top of its roof. A large portion of the castle was gone up in flames in 1945 during WWII, but the donjon was rebuilt in 1959. Nagoya Castle was the first castle to be designated as a National Treasure.
Iga Ueno Castle located in Iga city, Mie Prefecture was built in 1585 by Tsutsui Sadatsugu, who governed this region. It is also called Hakuho castle(White Phoenix Castle) because of its curved roof and beautiful architecture, surrounded by the highest stone walls in Japan, approximately 30 m.
Iga Ueno is the birth place of the Iga-style Ninja, and you can watch Ninja show or experience tactics and tragedy at the Ninja Museum.
Nijo-jo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun in the west of Kyoto, who had been ruling Japan for over 200 years. It is not only a Japanese national treasure, but also a world heritage site, designated in 1994. In addition to this, over 1000 paintings on sliding doors and murals are designated as nationally important cultural properties in 1982. The outer stone walls are huge, but inside is elegant with beautifully decorated ceilings and painted walls.
Hideyoshi Toyotomi started the construction of Osaka Castle, a symbol of his power in 1583 on the former site of Ishiyama Honganji Temple. The donjon is five-tiered and nine-storied with golden shachihoko ornaments, an animal in Japanese folklore with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp shining on the rooftop. The Osaka Castle Park provides lots of green space, museum, tea house, sport facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall) and a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Himeji Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site, is regarded as the most impressive and best-preserved castle in Japan. While many castles have been destroyed or reconstructed due to wars and fire, Himeji Castle remains fully intact for almost 700 years. It is also known as “White Heron Castle”for its white exterior and appearance of a bird taking flight.
The castle is also the best place to admire the natural beauty of four seasons. In spring, the landscape is serene and radiant with cherry blossoms; lush green leaves mark summer. In autumn, it is characterized by the changing colors of leaves. The castle is mantled in snow when winter comes.
Yonago Castle was built in the late 15th century and sat atop the Mountain Minato. It was once recognized as the finest castle in San'in region because of its unique structure. The castle was torn down during the restoration period, with only the original walls, settlement and a gate remained at the present site.
Take a short hike to the mountain top promises you a panoramic view of Yonago city in all directions stretching from Mt. Daisen, Sea of Japan to Sakaiminato.
At the base of the mountain is a park and a well-known spot for cherry blossom viewing in spring.
Matsue Castle has designated as a National Treasure in 2015, and it is not only one of the 12 remaining castles nationwide, but also 1 remaining castle in Sanin region. Matsue Castle is one of the symbols of Matsue city, and also called “ Chidori Jo” ( Plover Castle) as its roof resembles a plover bird spreading wings. You cannot miss the panoramic views of Matsue city and Lake Shinji seen from the top floor of the castle.
Okayama Castle located in Okayama city is known as “crow castle” for its black-lacquered exterior of wooden boards built in 1597 by Ukita Hideie, the feudal lord of Okayama. The main keep was destroyed in World War２, however it was reconstructed in 1966. The castle ground provides a souvenir shop, café, pottery studio and a free fitting corner for visitors to dress up in Kimono. Furthermore, Korakuen Garden, the Three Great Gardens of Japan, sits next to the castle where you can enjoy the Japanese aesthetics and seasonal features.
Hiroshima Castle, so-called Carp Castle was built in 1589 in the center of Hiroshima city by the feudal lord, Mori Terumoto. However, it was destroyed by the atomic bombing in 1945. The replica of five-story castle was built in 1958 and the stone fortress and moat remain as they were in the old day.
Iwakuni Castle was constructed on the summit of Mount Yokoyama in 1608. It was dismantled 7 years after construction as per one castle one province policy. The current tower was rebuilt in 1962. It is now an observation deck where visitors can enjoy the best views of Iwakuni city. A ropeway takes you
up to the peak at a height of 200 meters in 3 mins. From there you can enjoy a different perspective of the city with panoramic view of Kintaikyo Bridge, Iwakuni Airport, Miyajima, the islands of Seto Inland Sea, and Shikoku etc.
Marugame castle located at Kameyama hill, a hill of 66 meter height in Marugame city, Kagawa Prefecture, is one of only 12 castles with an original keep before the Edo period.
One of its main features is the steep stone walls that line the path from the inner moat to the castle tower. Wooden castle keep, Ote Ichino Gate, and Ote Nino Gate are designated as Important Cultural Properties. On its hilltop, 1,000 cherry blossom trees can be enjoyed in early spring, overlooking the Marugame city and the Seto Inland Sea.
Imabari Castle is one of the three seaside castles in Japan, along with the Takamatsu Castle and the Nakatsu Castle. It features a vast seawater moat, a high stonewall and a rare style of iron gate. Though the castle building, particularly its tower is a reconstruction imitating the original one after demolition, the stone walls and the moat remained intact. From the tower, a panoramic view of the whole castle grounds, the moats, Imabari city can be enjoyed while in the distance, the Seto Inland Islands as well as the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge are within your sight.
Matsuyama Castle demostrates an excellent example of feudal castle in Japan as its defense was built atop of a steep hill and can only be accessed through multiple guarded gates. Being one of the 12 original castles in Japan, it was designated an important cultural property which its castle keeps were still remained intact since the post feudal era. The Castle is accessible by foot, ropeway or chairlift. But getting a ride on ropeway or chairlift is not only pleasant, but also fun. Reaching up to the castle offers you a bird's eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Islands. It is also a cherry blossom viewing spot in spring each year.
Kochi Castle is located in the center of Kochi city built by Yamauchi Kazutoyo, who ruled the surrounding area about 400 years ago during the Edo Period. It is one of the twelve castles in Japan which still retains the original wooden castle tower.
15 buildings including its tower and the main are designated as National Important Cultural Properties, and six story building boasts panoramic views of the downtown Kochi.
Kokura Castle is a castle located in Kokura city, Fukuoka. It was originally built in 1602 and restored in 1959 after the massive fire.
The historical castle overlooks Riverwalk Kitakyushu, a large entertainment center and parks with views of the river. Traditional buildings and modern architecture of its surroundings will provide you a unique visual contrast.
Katsuyama park, a castle park, is also a famous spot for the cherry blossom viewing in spring. As located withing the walking distance from Kokura Station, it is easily accessible and great place where you can get the feel of Kokura city.
Kumamoto Castle is one of the famous castles of Japan which was completed in 1607 after a 7-year construction process by the feudal lord of Higo, Kiyomasa Kato, who governed this region.
Kumamoto Castle features massive stone walls and moats including its keep, palace, several turrets and storehouses.