Japanese Castles - Guide to over 110 Japanese Castles including history, design, architecture, Japanese Castle pictures and interactive map.
Japanese castles were frequently constructed in strategic locations to protect important transport routes such as bridges, rivers or ports. Other Japanese castles were built to dominate a landscape and provide a final point of defence. Many Japanese castles were the basis for the development of cities, while others were located in difficult to reach mountain tops. Most Japanese castle featured one or more moats, plus one or more sets of outer walls, then a raised platform where the inner castle buildings were protected by a series of large stone walls, turrents and donjon or tower. Japanese castles really came of age in the 14th century, reaching their peak in 17th century and by the late 19th century most were being disassembled as part of the Meiji Restoration.
Himeji Castle - the best example of a Japanese Castle
FAMOUS JAPANESE CASTLES
Here is a list of some of the most famous Japanese castles, they are grouped according the approximate condition they are in. Those highlighted in yellow are UNESO World Heritage Sites.
JAPANESE CASTLES - NATIONAL TRESURE
These Japanese Castles have been declared to be at least a National Treasure by the Japanese Government as they are in very good condition and close to original condition as it practable.
Hikone Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle located in Hikone Shiga Prefecture near Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Hikone Castle is one of the oldest intact Japanese castles and is classified as an Important National Cultural Asset. Construction of Hikone Castle was ordered of Shogun Ii Naokatsu in 1603 and was completed in 1622. The three- story Tenshu (main keep) was built in 1575 as a part of Otsu Castle and moved to Hikone Castle when it was built. Other parts of the castle were moved from Nagahama Castle.
Himeji Castle is the best example of a Japanese castle as it has never been destroyed or even damaged in war. Himeji Castle was completed in 1609, but a fort existed on the site as early as 1333. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the "Himeji-jo" listing. Himeji Castle is a flatland style Japanese castle, located in Himeji Hyogo Prefecture.
Inuyama Castle is a Japanese castle, located in the city of Inuyama Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya.Inuyama Castle is thought to be the oldest Japanese Castle with the original castle starting construction in 1440, however there many additions and upgrades over time. Most of Inuyama Castle is in original condition with the main tower or donjon being a National Treasure.
Matsumoto Castle is a flatland style Japanese Castle is located in Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. Matsumoto Castle is one of only four Japanese Castles that is classified as a National Treasure. Matsumoto Castle, also known as Crow Castle because of its distinctive black exterior, relied heavily on its walls, moats and gatehouses for its defence. Matsumoto Castle started life in 1504 when a fort, referred to as Fukashi Castle, was built on its current site.
JAPANESE CASTLES - DONJON RESTORED
It is considered by some that there are twelve Japanese Castles that are in original condition. This is qualified by the reference made to just the donjon (keep or main tower), however even with this qualification taken into account we do not believe that the eight listed below could be considered to have even their donjon in original condition as too many parts have been damaged, lost, removed or moved over time.
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Takahashi (Okayama Prefecture) and is famous for being the Japanese Castle built at the highest altitude above sea level. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is a different castle to the similarly named Matsuyama Castle. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, also known as Takahashi Castle, was originally built on a near by mountain in 1240AD. It was then moved to its current site on Mt Gagyu in 1331. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle was then almost completely redesigned and rebuilt in 1683. Although the castle fell into disrepair it has been restored to close to its 1683 condition.
Hirosaki Castle is a flatland style Japanese castle located in the central of Hirosaki city, Aomori Prefecture. Hirosaki Castle, also known as Takaoka Castle, was built in 1611, however the current donjon was completed in 1811 on a different location to the original donjon. The palace buildings and most of the castle walls were removed in 1871. In 1906 two of the turrets were burnt down. In 1937 eight structures were declared National Treasures, despite this all the bronze, roofing tiles and decorations, was stripped from the castle in 1944. Three turrets from the Edo period survive.
Kochi Castle is located in the city of Kochi on the island of Shikoku. Kochi Castle was completed in 1611, however this structure burnt down in 1727. Kochi Castle was then rebuilt in the same style in 1753. Significant restoration work was carried out between 1948 and 1959. Kochi Castle is the only Japanese Castle which retains both an original keep and palace.
Marugame Castle is located in Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture. Marugame Castle, also known as Kameyama Castle and Horai Castle, began as a fortified residence in 1587, but was later turned into a castle by Ikoma Kazumasa around 1597. In 1615 the castle was dismantled due to a shogunal decree. The current Marugame Castle mostly dates back to 1644, with further improvements made in 1670. In 1869 a fire destroyed many of the buildings. Today only the stone walls, two gates and the keep remain. The buildings are now all declared Important Cultural Properties.
Maruoka Castle, located in Maruoka in Fukui Prefecture, is famous for having the oldest donjon (keep) of any Japanese Castle. Maruoka Castle was built in 1576 under orders from Shibata Katsutoyo, however it was destroyed in the 1948 Fukui Earthquake. Only the donjon was rebuilt in 1955 using materials largely from the original structure. The donjon is a designated Important Cultural Property.
Matsue Castle is located in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture and was completed in 1611. Matsue Castle, also known as "black" or "Plover" castle, is the second largest Japanese Castle. In 1875 all the buildings except the main donjon (keep) were removed as a part of Meiji Restoration. Between 1950 and 1955 the remaining parts of the castle were repaired or reconstructed. Today only the donjon and some walls remain.
Matsuyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle, located on Mt Matsuyama in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. Matsuyama Castle was completed in 1603 with a five story donjon (keep) which was relocated from Aizu Castle. In 1642 Matsudaira Sadayuki completed a new donjon, which was later destroyed by a lightning strike and fire in 1784. Between 1820 and 1854 the current donjon was completed. Parts of the castle were destroyed during World War II and restoration work started in 1966. Matsuyama Castle is a different castle to the similarly named Bitchu Matsuyama Castle.
Uwajima Castle is a Japanese castle located in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, is also known as Tsurushima-jo. Uwajima Castle was built in 1596 and was expanded in 1671. The donjon (tower) is a designated Important Cultural Property.
JAPANESE CASTLES - RECONSTRUCTION - SOME ORIGINAL BUILDINGS
These Japanese Castles have had their donjon (main tower) reconstructed using modern materials. However these castles do still have some original buildings that are not modern reconstructions.
Kanazawa Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Kanazawa right next to Kenrokuen, which originally was the private garden of the castle. Kanazawa Castle was built in 1583 by the order of Maeda Toshiie who was a feudal lord of Kaga Clan. Kanazawa Castle was destroyed by fire in 1620, but was rebuilt by the end of 1621, only to be destroyed in the Great Kanazawa Fire of 1759. Kanazawa Castle was rebuilt in 1762 and the Ishikawa-mon Gate was rebuilt in 1788. In 1881 the castle was again destroyed by fire, however the Ishikawa-mon Gate was saved.
Koriyama Castle (also known as Yamato Koriyama Castle) is a mountain top style Japanese Castle which was completed in 1580. Koriyama Castle is located Yamatokoriyama in Nara Prefecture. Today only some of the walls, moats, turret and gates remain. Koriyama Castle is surrounded by gardens and is considered one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.
Kumamoto Castle is Kumamoto's most famous landmark. Kumamoto Castle is a large, and in its day, an extremely well fortified Japanese Castle. The donjon (castle central keep) is a concrete reconstruction built in the 1970s, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle.
Matsumae Castle, also known as Fukuyama Castle, is a flatland style Japanese castle located in Matsumae Hokkaido. Matsumae Castle was the only full castle built in Hokkaido and the last castle built (1854) using traditional methods. The original castle was built in 1606, but was destroyed by fire in 1637, then rebuilt in 1639. It was completely rebuilt in 1854. Although Matsumae Castle survived World War II it was mostly destroyed by fire in 1949. Today only the main gate survives from the original castle. In 1959 a concrete reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Nijo Castle in Kyoto includes Nimomaru Palace and the ruins of the Honmaru Palace, various support buildings and several beautiful Japanese gardens. Nijo Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and forms part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)" listing.
Osaka Castle is a hill top style Japanese Castle and Osaka's most famous landmark. While the main donjon (tower) is modern reconstruction, Osaka Castle features thirteen structures which are designated Important Cultural Properties. Osaka Castle also features an observation deck and museum.
Usuki Castle, also known as Niyuujima Castle, is a hill top style Japanese castle located on the island of Niyuujima in Usuki Bay Oita Prefecture. Otomo Sorin ordered the construction of Usuki Castle and it was completed in 1562. During the 1560's Sorin controlled a large part of Kyushu, however he was defeated in the Battle of Mimikawa in 1578, which lead to the capture of Usuki Castle by Shimazu Yoshihiro in 1586. Toyotomi Hideyoshi later gained control of Usuki Castle. Today to Edo period turrets remain, plus there is a reconstructed Daimon turret.
JAPANESE CASTLES - RECONSTRUCTION
These Japanese Castles have had their donjon (main tower) reconstructed using modern materials.
Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, also known as Tsuruga Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in the city of Aizu Wakamatsu Fukushima Prefecture. When Aizu Wakamatsu Castle was first constructed in 1384 under the orders of Ashina Naomori, it was named Kurokawa Castle. In 1589 Aizu Wakamatsu Castle was captured by Date Masamune, only to lose it in 1590 to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1592 the new lord, Gamo Ujisato, redeveloped the castle and named it Tsuruga Castle, however it was also known as Aizu Castle and Wakamatsu Castle. In 1868 in the Boshin War, Aizu Wakamatsu Castle was taken under siege for a month and then surrendered. Most of Aizu Wakamatsu Castle was then dismantled as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1965 a concrete reconstruction of the main keep was completed.
Ako Castle is a flatland style Japanese castle located on the coast line in Ako, Hyogo Prefecture. Ako Castle was originally constructed around 1615, but substantially dismantled during the Meiji Period.
Atami Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle which stands 120 meters above sea level, where you can overlook the view of the city of Atami and Atami Bay (South of Tokyo Bay). Atami Castle is a concrete reconstruction built in 1959 as a tourist attraction. Atami Castle contains a small museum. Atami Castle is most famous for its current day views and 200 cherry blossom trees.
Aya Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt. Ryuubi in Aya Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.. In 1331 Koshiro Yoshito ordered the construction of Aya Castle, which derived its name from the term Koshiro Yoshito referred to himself, Aya. In 1577 the Shimazu clan defeated the Ito clan and gained control of Aya Castle. Niiro Hisatoki was then put in control of Aya Castle by the Shimazu clan. In 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi captured Aya Castle. In 1615 most of Aya Castle was destroyed under the shogunal decree of one castle per domain. In 1985 a wooden donjon (tower) was built in a style similar to one that existed at Aya Castle. This tower contains a museum.
Echizen Ono Castle, also known as Ono Castle and Kameyama Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Ono Fukui Prefecture. Kanamori Nagachika ordered the construction of Echizen Ono Castle, which was completed in 1576. In 1586 Nagachika moved to Takayama Castle. In 1775 most of Echizen Ono Castle was destroyed by fire, although some parts were rebuilt in 1795, the donjon (tower) was not rebuilt. During the Meiji Restoration all the remaining building were dismantled. In 1968 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed. Echizen Ono Castle was just one of many castle built in the Echizen area.
Fukuchiyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Fukuchiyama Kyoto Prefecture. An original fort or minor castle was built on the site of Fukuchiyama Castle by the Yokoyama clan. In 1576 Akechi Mitsuhide captured the site and in 1580 ordered the construction of Fukuchiyama Castle, which included the deepest well, known as Toyoiwa-no-l, of any castle in Japan. In 1872, as a part of the Meiji Restoration, the donjon was demolished. In 1986 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Fukuyama Castle, also known as Hisamatsu Castle and Iyo Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Fukuyama Hiroshima Prefecture. Fukuyama Castle was constructed by the Bingo - Fukuyama Han in 1619 and featured five story donjon (tower) and a double moat complete with access to the Seto Inland Sea. Most of buildings of Fukuyama Castle were destroyed during World War II and most of the stone walls were then subsequently removed. In 1966 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) with a museum inside was completed.
Funai Castle, also known as Oita Castle, is a flat land style Japanese castle located in Oita Oita Prefecture. Otomo Sorin, who controlled most of Kyushu, ordered the construction of Funai Castle and it was completed in 1562. Funai Castle featured a three story donjon (tower) and several turrets (yagura), however these were all destroyed by fire in 1743. Today there are modern reconstructions of several turrets and a covered bridge over the moat along with some original sections of wall and moat.
Fushimi Castle, also known as Momoyama Castle, was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Fushimi Ward Kyoto. Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered the construction Fushimi Castle was completed in 1594, only to be destroyed in 1596 by an earthquake. Fushimi Castle was then rebuilt, but fell in a siege in 1600. In 1623 Fushimi Castle was dismantled with parts being used in temples and castles throughout Japan. The tomb of Emperor Meiji was built on the site in 1912. A replica of the castle was built on a site nearby in 1964, but in 2003 it was closed to the public.
Gifu Castle is a hill top style Japanese castle located in Gifu. Gifu Castle was originally built in 1201 by the Nikaido clan. Gifu Castle was later destroyed in 1600. The castle was later restored only to be destroyed again during the second world war. The current Gifu Castle> is a reconstruction completed in 1956 with a major renovation in 1997. Gifu Castle provides an excellent out look, particularly at night.
Gujo Hachiman Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt Hachiman in Gujo Gifu Prefecture. Endo Morikazu ordered the construction of Gujo Hachiman Castle which was completed in 1559. Morikazu died shortly after and his son Endo Yoshitaka took control of the castle, however when Yoshitaka become a retainer of Oda Nobunaga, control of the castle was transferred to Inaba Sadamichi. Inaba renovated the Gujo Hachiman Castle during this period, however the castle was further expanded after 1646 when Tsunetomo was given control over the castle. In 1870 most of the buildings in Gujo Hachiman Castle were demolished as a part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1933 a wooden reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Hamamatsu Castle is a Japanese castle located in Hamamatsu Shizuoka Prefecture. Hikuma Castle had been built on the site of Japanese castle in the early 1500s by the Imagawa clan. Tokugawa Ieyasu obtained control of area including Hikuma Castle in 1568. Tokugawa Ieyasu rebuilt and greatly expanded the castle which did not include a main donjon (tower), but featured two substaintial turrets (yagura). When the works were completed in 1577, Tokugawa Ieyasu renamed the castle, Hamamatsu Castle. The current Hamamatsu Castle was reconstructed in 1958.
Hiroshima Castle is flatland style Japanese castle located in Hiroshima city. Mori Terumoto ordered the construction Hiroshima Castle in 1589 and it was completed in 1591. Hiroshima Castle featured three concentric moats plus additional protection was provided by Hongawa River (called Otagawa River at the time). The original Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the Hiroshima Atomic Bombing. In 1958 a modern reconstruction of the five story donjon (tower) was completed and more recently a gate and turret (yagura) in the ninomaru have been reconstructed using traditonal materials and techniques.
Iga Ueno Castle also known as Uneo Castle or Hakuho Castle is a Japanese castle located in Iga Mie Prefecture. Iga Ueno Castle was first established in 1585 under the order of Takigawa Katsutoshi. The donjon (tower) and the inner bailey were constructed by Takigawa Katsutoshi's successor Tsutsui Sadatsugu. Today's reconstructed Iga Uneo Castle is based upon this design. It was Todo Takatora who ordered the redevelopment of the inner bailey walls to the height of 30m, making them the tallest of any castle in Japan. The donjon was destroyed in a storm in 1612 and only reconstructed with wood in 1935.
Imabari Castle is a Mizujiro (castle in the sea) style Japanese castle located on the coast line in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Imabari Castle was constructed by the order of Todo Takoatora in 1604, as a replacement for Kokufu Castle, located on Mt Karako, which proved an unsuitable location to rule the area. In 1873 all the main buildings of Imabari Castle were demolished as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1980 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Iwakuni Castle was a Japanese castle located in Iwakuni Yamaguchi Prefecture which was completed in 1608, only to be dismantled in 1615 as part of the Tokugawa Shogun ate order of "One Castle Per Province". Today there is modern reconstruction of Iwakuni Castle.
Iwasaki Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Nisshin Aichi Prefecture. Oda Nobuhide ordered the construction of Iwasaki Castle in the early 16th century, but lost it in battle to Matsudaira Kiyoyasu in 1529. Iwasaki Castle then became the headquarters of the Matsudaira clan until 1535 when Kiyoyasu was assassinated. Niwa clan were then given control of Iwasaki Castle, but lost it in the Battle of Iwasaki Castle in 1584 to the Toyotomi clan led by Ikeda Tsuneoki. Iwasaki Castle was later destroyed after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Some ruins remain of Iwasaki Castle including a well and part of turret. In 1987 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed with a museum inside.
Karatsu Castle, also known as the Dancing Crane Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located on the coastline of Karatsu Bay at the mouth of the Matsuura River in Karatsu Saga Prefecture. Karatsu Castle is located on a raised rock platform and effectively surrounded by water on three sides, plus it has moat through most of the land bridge leading to castle. Karatsu Castle is one of the few castles that has stone walls rising from the water. The inner bailey is located on summit of Mt Manto. Today a modern reconstruction of a donjon (tower) exists, however while stone foundations for a donjon do exist, it is not certain that one was ever completed. Terasawa Hirotaka ordered the construction of Karatsu Castle in 1602 and it was completed around 1608 using some materials from Hizen Nagoya Castle (Saga Prefecture), which was his former castle. Karatsu Castle was demolished in 1872 as a part of the Meiji Restoration. In addition to the reconstructed donjon, several turrets have also been reconstructed.
Kishiwada Castle (also known as Chikiri Castle), located in Kashiwa Southern Osaka, is a flatland style Japanese Castle, which was built by order of Hideaway Koide in 1597, on the site of a fort constructed by Tokay Wada in 1334. Control of Kishiwada Castle transferred to Takatsuki and then Okabe Mino 1640. The Okabe clan maintained control of Kishiwada Castle until the Meiji Restoration. The donjon (tower) was destroyed by lightning 1827. A modern reconstruction of the donjon including a museum with exhibition rooms for artefacts and watch tower was completed in 1954.
Kitsuki Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located on a 30m high rock platform along the coastline of Morie Bay in Kitsuki Oita Prefecture. Yorinao Kizuki ordered the construction of Kitsuki Castle and it was completed in 1394. The Shimizu clan besieged Kitsuki Castle, but failed to capture it, leading to the nickname Katsuyamajo (the castle of victory). The Matsudaira clan took control of the castle in the 17th century and gave it the current title of Kitsuki Castle. In 1970 a modern reconstruction of the three story donjon (tower) was completed.
Kiyosu Castle is a Japanese Castle located in Kiyosu Aichi Prefecture. Shiba Yoshishige ordered the construction of Kiyosu Castle in 1394 and it was completed in 1427. Kiyosu Castle was a support castle to Orizu Castle and was used to govern the Owari Province. Orizu Castle was lost in battle in 1476 and the centre of government for the Owari Province moved to Kiyosu Castle. In 1555 Oda Nobunaga from nearby Nagoya Castle captured Kiyosu Castle. In 1586 Kiyosu Castle was upgraded by Oda Nobukatsu. In 1610 Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the capital of Owari Province to be moved to Nagoya. Parts of Kiyosu Castle were deconstructed and used in the upgrading of Nagoya Castle. What remained of Kiyosu Castle was used until the 18th century. In 1989 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Komakiyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt Komaki in Aichi Prefecture. Oda Nobunaga ordered the construction of Komakiyama Castle which was completed in 1563. Komakiyama Castle played a key roll in the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute when Tokugawa Ieyasu used it as his base. Today some ruins remain of the castle including stone walls and a well. In 1967 a modern reconstruction of the Komakiyama Castle donjon (tower) was completed.
Komine Castle, also known as Shirakawa Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in the city of Shirakawa Fukushima Prefecture. Chikatomo Yuki ordered the construction of Komine Castle in 1340. By 1627 control of Komine Castle had changed to Nagashige Niwa, who in 1628 ordered the removal of 100,000 stone blocks from the nearby Tanagura Castle to aid the defence of Komine Castle. By 1632 the enhanced Komine Castle was completed and renamed Shirakawa Castle. In 1868, during the Boshin War, Komine Castle came under siege from Emperor Meiji's forces, who destroyed the castle. Between 1991 and 1994 significant parts of Komine Castle were reconstructed include the donjon (tower).
Minakuchi Castle, also known as Hekisui Castle, is a plain style Japanese castle located in Koka Shiga Prefecture. Tokugawa Iemitsu ordered the construction of Minakuchi Castle, which was completed in 1634. Minakuchi Castle provided Tokugawa Iemitsu with a well protected way station on his journeys along the Tokaido Road between Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Minakuchi Castle featured a design similar to Nijo Castle. As part of the Meiji Restoration most of the castle was demolished. In 1991 some walls, two gates and a turret were reconstructed.
Nagahama Castle, located in Nagahama Shiga Prefecture, is a 1983 concrete reconstruction of the castle built in 1576. This castle was demolished in 1615 with parts and materials used in the construction of Hikone Castle.
Nakatsu Castle is a flat land style Japanese castle located in Nakatsu Oita Prefecture. In 1587 Kuroda Yoshitaka ordered the construction of Nakatsu Castle, however it was still not completed by 1600, when Kuroda was awarded a new domain by Toyotomi Hideyoshi for his actions in the Battle of Sekigahara. Control of Nakatsu Castle then passed to Hosokawa Tadaoki, who then completed it and nearby Kokura Castle. Control of Nakatsu Castle and the area then passed to the Ogasawara clan in 1717 who remained in control until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The five story donjon (tower) of Nakatsu Castle was then destroyed by fire during the failed Satsuma Rebellion in 1877. In 1964 a modern reconstruction of Nakatsu Castle was completed.
Odawara Castle was the original focus of the Odawara city. Odawara Castle was built in 1447 on a hill and was surrounded by a moat on the low side and dry ditches on the high side. Odawara Castle was destroyed in 1590, it was rebuilt on a smaller scale which is its current form around 1633, only to be destroyed in an earthquake in 1703. The current donjon is a 1960 concrete reconstruction.
Saga Castle, also known as the Submerged Castle, is a flat land style Japanese castle located in Saga City Saga Prefecture. On the site of the current Saga Castle there had been a fort or minor castle which was under the control of the Ryuzoji clan. The Ryuzoji clan lost the castle in 1584. In 1611 Saga Castle was completed under the direction of Nabeshima Katsushige. The castle featured five story donjon (tower) which was surrounded by 80m wide moats. Unlike most castle which have stone walls around the outside of the moat, Saga Castle had earthen ramparts which were covered with pine and camphor trees. It was this style of concealment that lead to alternative name for the castle, the Submerged Castle. In 1726 most of the castle buildings were destroyed including the donjon. In 1728 a palace was rebuilt in the outer bailey. Between 2001 and 2004 parts of Saga Castle were reconstructed.
Shimabara Castle, also known as Moritake Castle and Korai Castle, is a flatland Japanese castle located in Shimabara Nagasaki Prefecture. Shimabara Castle was completed in 1624 and came under siege in the Shimabara Rebellion. The donjon and most other buildings were demolished in 1876 as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1964 a concrete reconstruction of donjon was completed. Only the moat and stone walls remain from the original castle.
Shiroishi Castle is a Japanese castle located in Shiroishi Miyagi Prefecture. There was fort on the site of Shiroishi Castle, prior to construction of Shiroishi Castle in the 1590's. Shiroishi Castle was one of the few exceptions to the Tokugawa Shogunate's proclamation of one castle per domain. Shiroishi Castle was demolished in 1875 as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1995 a modern reconstruction of Shiroishi Castle was completed.
Shoryuji Castle is a Japanese castle located in Nagaokakyo Kyoto Prefecture. The construction of Shoryuji Castle was ordered in 1339 by Hosokawa Yoriharu, a key samurai commander. Shoryuji Castle was positioned as a key defensive point to protect the then capital of Japan from the west. In 1582 Toyotomi Hideyoshi captured Shoryuji Castle from Akechi Mitsuhide in the Battle of Yamazaki. By 1633 when the Nagai clan took control of Shoryuji Castle it was in poor condition as many materials had be removed and used in construction of Yodo Castle. By 1649 Shoryuji Castle was abandoned. In 1992 a corner turret and two gates were reconstructed.
Shuri Castle located in Shuri Okinawa and is a World Heritage Site. Shuri Castle is a gusuku (Okinawan) style Japanese Castle which dates back to the 14th century, and was constructed by the Ryukyu kingdom. Shuri Castle contained the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In 1945 the castle was almost completely destroyed by shells from USA war ships. Shuri Castle was reconstructed between 1958 and 1992.
Sunpu Castle, located in Shizuoka city, is also known as Fuchu Castle or Shizuoka Castle. A new Sunpu Castle was built in 1585 by Tokugawa Ieyasu on the site where a smaller castle or fort had been. Sunpu Castle was upgraded to a triple moat system, a new donjon and new palace in 1607. The donjon was destroyed by fire in 1610, and a new seven story one was built. In 1635 most of Sunpu (now Shizuoka) was destroyed by fire including the castle. The palace, gates and yagura (turrets) were rebuilt by 1638, but not the donjon. In 1989 reconstruction started with the eastern gate and Tatsumi Yagura completed to date.
Toyama Castle, also known as Azumi Castle, is a flatland style Japanese castle located in the city of Toyama Toyama Prefecture. Toyama Castle was constructed around 1543 by the Jinbo clan as their central power based and it was their primary form of defence against the Shiina clan who they were in a power struggle for control of the region. In 1560 Uesugi Kenshin captured Toyama Castle, but left Jinbo clan in control under his rule. In 1581 Toyama Castle was captured by the forces of Oda Nobunaga, who placed Sassa Narimasa in control. During this period the castle was upgraded with improvements to the moats, turrets and foundations. In 1585 Hideyoshi, with a force of 100,000, destroyed Toyama Castle. It was later rebuilt by Maeda Toshinga, only to have it burn down in 1609. In 1661 Maeda Toshitsugu rebuilt the Toyama Castle and his descendents retained control until the Meiji Restoration, when in 1870 it was dismantled. In 1954 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) was completed.
Tsuyama Castle is a Japanese castle in Sange, Tsuyama. Tsuyama Castle was first completed in 1444, then under went major expansions between 1603 to 1616. Tsuyama Castle was then largely demolished in 1874. The donjon of today's Tsuyama Castle is a 2005 reconstruction.
Wakayama Castle, located in Wakayama City at the mouth of Kii River, is a Japanese Castle that was constructed in 1585 by Hidenaga Toyotomi, on the site of minor castle called Ota Castle. Ota Castle was destroyed in battle by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1585 by damming the Kii River and then releasing a flood to destroy many walls and leading to the loss of the castle. The current design of Wakayama Castle is based on the renovations and improvements conducted by Tokugawa Yorinobu in the 17th century. In 1867 Wakayama Castle was opened to the public, only to be destroyed in 1945 by bombing during World War II. The current Wakayama Castle is a concrete reconstruction completed in 1958.
Yoshida Castle (also known as Imahashi Castle and Toyohashi Castle) is a flatland style Japanese castle located in Toyohashi Aichi Prefecture. Makino Kohaku ordered the construction of Yoshida Castle which was completed in 1505. Located on a strategic river crossing, Yoshida Castle was involved in many battles during the Sengoku Period. Control of the castle changes several times and it suffered great damage many times, but was reconstructed each time. In 1565 Tokugawa Ieyasu had control over the Yoshida Castle, however after the 1590 Battle of Odawara the Tokugawa clan moved to the Kanto region and Yoshida Castle passed to Ikeda Terumasa. Ikeda later moved to Himeji Castle without completing the reconstruction of donjon (tower). As part of the Meiji Restoration control of Yoshida Castle went to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1871, however most of the castle was destroyed by fire two years later. In 1954 a modern reconstruction of the donjon was completed.
JAPANESE CASTLES - RUINS - SUBSTANTIAL INTACT WALLS
These Japanese Castle have most of their original walls in place and many will have some or all of their moats (if they had them) even if they are not full of water. They do not have a donjon (tower).
Azuchi Castle is a flatland style Japanese castle, located on the shore of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture not far from Kyoto. Oda Nobunaga order the construction of Azuchi Castle in 1576 and it was completed in 1579. Azuchi Castle was specifically positioned to provide protection for Kyoto, yet far enough away that it would not be damaged by fire if it broke out in the city. The donjon or tower of Azuchi Castle was an unusual seven stories high, but functioned more as a palace with lavish rooms, than the focus of defence of the castle. In 1582 after Nobunaga's death, Azuchi Castle was destroyed by fire while under attack by Akechi Mitsuhide. Today only ruins remain with many stone walls still remaining. There is a full scale recreation of the donjon at Azuchi Momoyama Bunka Mura theme park in Ise.
Edo Castle is the flatland style Japanese castle that forms part of the surroundings of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Today there still remain some walls, moats, turrets and ramparts. Some of these are original and others are reconstructions. Edo Castle was built in 1457 by Ota Dokan in Chiyoda in the city of Edo, now known as Tokyo. The tenshu (keep or main tower) of Edo Castle, also known as Chiyoda Castle, was destroyed in 1657 by fire, with further damage being done in another fire in 1873. Edo Castle also suffered more damage from bombing during World War Two.
Fukuoka Castle, also known as Maizuru Castle, was a hilltop style Japanese castle located adjacent to Ohori Koen (Park) in Fukuoka. Nagamasa ordered the construction of Fukuoka Castle in 1601. When Fukuoka Castle was completed in 1607 it had 47 turrets and covered 47,000 square metres making it the largest castle in Kyushu. Today Fukuoka Castle features the remaining stone walls and ramparts left after a devastating fire during the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration, along with some reconstructed prefabricate concrete towers constructed during the 1950s and 1960s.
Hagi Castle, also known as Shizuki Castle, is a flatland style Japanese castle located in the city of Hagi Yamaguchi Prefecture. While Hagi Castle was a flatland style castle, it was in many respects also a hilltop style castle as it had a turret located part way up the mountain behind the castle and another on top of the mountain. These combined with sea on almost three sides of Hagi Castle, plus a water channel located in front of the moat provided a high degree of protection. It was this high level of protection which allowed Mori Terumoto, who constructed Hagi Castle in 1604, and his descendents to maintain control of the castle until the Meiji Restoration. Prior to the destruction of Hagi Castle in 1874, it featured a five story donjon (turret). Today only ruins remain with walls and moat still in place. There still remains the associated historic castle which is a National Historic Site and popular tourist destination.
Hiji Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located along the coastline of Beppu Bay in Hiji Oita Prefecture. In 1601 Kinoshita Nobutoshi ordered the construction of Hiji Castle and it was designed by Nobutoshi's brother in law, Hosokawa Tadaoki. Today all that remains of Hiji Castle is the Sumi turret and the stone walls.
Hizen Nagoya Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Karatsu Saga Prefecture, in what was at the time of construction Hizen Province. Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered the construction of Hizen Nagoya Castle and it was completed in 1591. Hizen Nagoya Castle is the only castle that was used as a base to attack a foreign land, in this case Korea, but with plans to attack China as well. In 1592 the first attempted invasion of Korea fails. In 1598 Toyotomi Hideyoshi dies, with all further attempts to invade Korea cancelled and Hizen Nagoya Castle is abandoned. Materials are then taken from the castle to construct Karatsu Castle. Today only some of the stone walls and earthworks remain.
Kagoshima Castle, also known as Tsurumarujo Castle, was a flatland Japanese castle located in Kagoshima Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima Castle was completed in 1601 by Shimazu Iehisa, shortly after his father, Shimazu Yoshihiro, had been defeated at the Battle of Sekigahara by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600. Kagoshima Castle was a small and not very well built castle, even though Shimazu was one of the wealthy daimyo in Japan at the time. Only the moat and stone walls remain from the original castle.
Katsuren Castle is believed to be the oldest castle in Okinawa and is a World Heritage Site. Katsuren Castle is a gusuku (Okinawan) style Japanese Castle. Katsuren Castle over looks Awase and Nakagusuku Bay on the Pacific Ocean, hence why Katsuren Castle was also referred to as Ocean Gusuku. Katsuren Castle was at the height of its power in the mid 15th century under Lord Amawari. Excavations of the site have lead to the discovery of precious tiles and Chinese porcelain which provide a further evidence of the wealth and stature of Katsuren Castle. Today only ruins remain including walls and some foundations.
Kofu Castle, also known as Maizuru Castle, is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Kofu Yamanashi Prefecture. In 1583, after Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified Japan he ordered the construction of Kofu Castle. The construction of Kofu Castle was completed by Asano Nagamasa (Toyotomi's brother-in-law) and Nagamasa's son. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Kofu Castle came under the control of Tokugawa family, with whom control remained until the end of Tokugawa shogunate. When Kofu Castle was under the control of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu it was repaired and the associated town was developed. In 1877 most of the Kofu Castle buildings were destroyed as a part of Meiji Restoration. Later Kofu Station was built within the area of main castle compound. Two turrets have been reconstructed using traditional techniques.
Komoro Castle is a hill top style Japanese castle located in Komoro in Nagano Prefecture. Komoro Castle was first built in 1554, with the donjon added in 1590. The donjon later burnt down in the Edo Period and most other structures were demolished in 1871 as part of the Meiji Restoration. Today two original gates remain, both are designated Important Cultural Properties.
Morioka Castle (also known as Kozukata Castle) was a Japanese castle located in Iwate Park, Morioka Iwate Prefecture. Morioka Castle was built for Nobunao and completed in 1633. Today only the granite stone walls and a storehouse remain from Morioka Castle which was destroyed in battles during the Meiji Period. Morioka Castle used the natural defences of Kitakami River to its west and Nakatsu River to south east instead of building outer moats. Morioka Castle then has secondary and tertiary enclosures. Morioka Castle never had a central keep or tower.
Nakagusuku Castle located in Kitanakagusuku Okinawa and is a World Heritage Site. Nakagusuku Castle is a gusuku (Okinawan) style Japanese Castle built in approximately 1440 by legendary Ryukyuan commander, Gosamaru, to defend against Lord Amawari of Katsuren Castle. Today only ruins remain including walls and some foundations.
Nakijin Castle located in Nakijin Okinawa and is a World Heritage Site. Nakijin Castle is a gusuku (Okinawan) style Japanese Castle which dates back to the late 13th century, and was constructed by the Hokuzan kingdom. Nakijin Castle is famous for its size with the complex covering 14 acres including 1.5km of walls. Today only ruins remain including walls and some foundations.
Saiki Castle, also known as Tsuruya Castle, was a hill top style Japanese castle located in Saiki Oita Prefecture. Mori Takamasa ordered the construction of Saiki Castle and it was completed in 1606. Saiki Castle was a large castle featuring a three story donjon, five double story turrets, a single story turret and seven gates. In 1617 the donjon was destroyed by fire, but the Mori clan continued to use Saiki Castle until the Meiji Restoration. Today only one gate and some of the stone walls remain.
Sendai Castle, also known Aoba Castle, was a mountain top style Japanese castle located in Sendai Miyagi Prefecture. Sendai Castle was built on the orders of Date Masamune on top of Mt Aoba which overlooks the city of Sendai. Sendai Castle played a key role in Boshin War, but was partially dismantled after Sendai surrendered to central government. Sendai Castle was damaged by World War II bombing.
Takamatsu Castle is located along the coastline in the city of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. Takamatsu Castle was completed in 1590, and is one of only three Japanese castle surrounded by water moats. Takamatsu Castle features an outer, middle and inner moats. Today only the Ushitora and Moon watch turrets, Mizutegomon gate and walls remain from the original castle.
Zakimi Castle located in Yomitan Okinawa and is a World Heritage Site. Nakijin Castle is a gusuku (Okinawan) style Japanese castle which was completed in 1422 by the Ryukyuan military leader Gosamaru. Today only ruins remain including walls and some foundations.
JAPANESE CASTLES - RUINS - PARTS OF WALLS
Only some of the walls from these Japanese Castles remain in place.
Akashi Castle is a Japanese Castle located in Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture. Akashi Castle was completed in 1619, with major repairs completed in 1739. In 1874 Akashi Castle was demolished except for two yagura (turrets) and the wall connecting them, which is what stands today.
Chihaya Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle built on Mt. Kongo (Osaka) in 1332. Chihaya Castle was constructed substantially of earthworks and wooden structures, however today you can still see some stoneworks such as stairs.
Fukui Castle was a Japanese castle located in Fukui Fukui Prefecture. There is another unrelated castle in Osaka Prefecture also called Fukui Castle. Fukui Castle was constructed on the orders of Yuki Hideyasu in 1606 north of the older nearby Kitanosho Castle. Fukui Castle was given its name by its next lord, Matsudaira Tadamasa, based on local well called Fukunoi (good luck). The donjon or central keep of Fukui Castle was destroyed by fire in 1669. The remaining buildings, with the exception of the palace, were demolished as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1945 the palace was destroyed during a bombing raid. The palace was reconstructed in 1993. Today the moat and some walls of the original castle remain, however the prefectural government buildings have built on the grounds of Fukui Castle.
Funaoka Castle, also known as Shibata Castle, was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Shibata in Miyagi Prefecture. Funaoka Castle was constructed in 1200 under the orders of Shibata Jiro. Today the ruins of Funaoka Castle can be found in Funaoka Castle Grounds, also known as Funaokajoshi Park, which is famous for its cherry blossom.
Gassan Toda Castle, also known as Toda Castle, was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Yasugi Shimane Prefecture. Gassan Toda Castle is regarded as one of Japan's Five Greatest Mountain Castles. In 1195 Gassan Toda Castle was constructed by the Sasaki clan. In 1542 the Siege of Gassan Toda Castle occurred with forces led by Ouchi Yoshitaka laying siege and Amago Haruhisa defending the castle. After a long siege, Yoshitaka was defeated and withdrew to Yamaguchi. Gassan Toda Castle was abandoned in 1611 when Horio Yoshiharu moved to Matsue Castle. Today only ruins remain, plus a few reconstructed buildings.
Ichinomiya Castle was a hilltop castle located only a few kilometres to the west of Tokushima City Tokushima Prefecture, where Tokushima Castle once stood. Ichinomiya Castle was used by the Ichinomiya family between the 14th and 16th centuries when they ruled the area. Today only a few stone walls remain of Ichinomiya Castle.
Ikeda Castle, located in Ikeda Osaka, is a Japanese Castle, which was built in 1334 and destroyed around 1568 after a loss in a battle. In 2000 a modern reconstruction of the donjon (tower) of Ikeda Castle was completed.
Ina Castle was a Japanese Castle located in the Kozakai area of Toyokawa City Aichi Prefecture. Honda Sadatada ordered the construction of Ina Castle around 1440. Ina Castle was afforded natural protection with rice paddies on two sides, a river on another and an inlet connected to Mikawa Bay on the fourth. Ina Castle ceased being used around 1590 when Honda Yasutoshi transferred his headquarters to Shimosa region. Today very little in the way of ruins remains. There is modern reconstruction of a tower on the site.
Iwayado Castle (also known as Shakuchi Castle) was a Japanese castle located in Oshu Iwate Prefecture. Iwayado Castle was a hilltop castle design. Today only ruins remain of Iwayado Castle and Hachiman Shrine, Iwayado Elementary School and Iwayado High School have been built on the site.
Kameyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Kameyama Mie Prefecture. Kameyama Castle was established in 1254 by Seki Sanetada, however this was dismantled to allow the construction of a new castle on the site under the orders of Okamoto Munenori in 1590. In 1632 the donjon was demolished. Around 1644 a turret or yagura was built where the donjon has been. As part of the Meiji Restoration, most of the buildings of the castle were demolished leaving only the walls.
Kannonji Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located on the peak of Mt Kinugasa in Azuchi Shiga Prefecture, not far from Kyoto and close to the location of Azuchi Castle. The name for Kannonji Castle comes from the Buddhist temple, Kannonshoji, located nearby. Kannonji Castle was completed in 1468, but with the title Sasaki Castle which was the family name of the Rokkaku clan placed in charge of the area by Ashikaga shogunate from Kyoto. In 1582 Kannonji Castle and Azuchi Castle were destroyed. Today only ruins remain.
Kushima Castle, also known as Omura Castle, is a Japanese castle located in the city of Omura in Nagasaki Prefecture. Kushima Castle, completed in 1599, is famous for the mass poisoning of Japanese Christians in 1616 on the castle grounds. In 1871 the donjon was demolished as part of the Meiji Restoration and a Shinto shrine was built in that location. In 1981 on of the turrets and some walls were reconstructed.
Matsuzaka Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Matsuzaka Mie Prefecture. Matsuzaka Castle was constructed in 1588 by the order of Gamo Ujisato, complete with a three story donjon. Today only ruins remain of Matsuzaka Castle.
Nagashino Castle was a flatland style Japanese castle located in what is now Shinshiro Aichi Prefecture. Imagawa Ujichika ordered the construction of Nagashino Castle in 1508 for the protection of his domains from the west. In 1573 control of Nagashino Castle moved to Tokugawa Ieyasu who ordered the upgrading of the castle's defences due to the continued clashes with the Takeda clan. In 1575 Takeda laid siege to Nagashino Castle in the Battle of Nagashino, however Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga brought combined forces of 38,000 men to break the siege and won. After the battle Nagashino Castle was abandoned. Today all that remains is ruins with some stone walls and moat earthwork.
Nihonmatsu Castle, also known as Kasumiga Castle, is a mountain top style Japanese castle located in Nihonmatsu Fukushima Prefecture. Nihonmatsu Castle was built around 1430 and was destroyed by fire in 1586. In 1643 a new castle was built at the base of the mountain, but was demolished in the Meiji Restoration. Today only remains exist of the original castle, however there is a modern reconstruction of main gate.
Nirengi Castle was a Japanese castle located in what is now Toyohashi Aichi Prefecture. Toda Munemitsu ordered the construction of Nirengi Castle in 1493 as a forward base to be used against Tame Matasaburo who had completed Funagatayama Castle only the year before. Ordered by Makino Kohaku, Imabashi Castle was completed 1505, a mere 2km from Nirengi Castle and many battles took place in the fields in between over the following years. In the end Munemitsu forced an alliance with the Makino clan. In 1571 Nirengi Castle played a key role in the battle between Takeda Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu, but after 1590 Nirengi Castle was abandoned and control of the area shifted to Yoshida Castle.
Nishikawa Castle was a Japanese castle located in what is now Toyohashi Aichi Prefecture. Saigo Kiyokazu ordered the construction of Nishikawa Castle around the 1530's to provide support to Wachigaya Castle. After the Siege of Odawara Castle in 1590, there was a great redistribution of territories and Nishikawa Castle was no longer a valued military asset. In 1661 Nishikawa Castle was completely abandoned by Ogasawara Naga'aki who moved his base to Yoshida Castle. Today little remains of Nishikawa Castle, with earthworks being the only obvious signs.
Noda Castle was a Japanese castle located in what is now Shinshiro Aichi Prefecture. Suganuma Sadanori constructed a fort on the site in 1508, which was lost in battle to the Imagawa clan in 1560. Suganuma Sadanori won control of the fort again in 1562, only to loose it again briefly to the Takeda clan in 1571. Between 1571 and 1573 Suganuma Sadamichi upgraded the fort to a castle with much better defences, however Tadeda clan lay siege to Noda Castle for weeks and drained the moats, leading to the surrender of the castle. Noda Castle was abandoned (around 1590) after Tokugawa Ieyasu moved to Edo Castle. Today little remains of Noda Castle, with earthworks being the only signs.
Obama Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located near the city of Nihonmatsu Fukushima Prefecture. Obama Castle was constructed by the Ishibashi clan members in the Muromachi period. In 1568 Ouchi Yoshitsuna defeated Ishibashi Naoyoshi and took control of the Shiomatsu area which included Obama Castle. Ouchi Sadatsuna was defeated by Date Masamune, who then took control of Obama Castle without it being involved in battle. In 1627 Obama Castle was abandoned and today only ruins remain. Note: there is also an unrelated Obama Castle in Fukui Prefecture.
Oka Castle was a mountain top style Japanese castle located in Taketa Oita Prefecture. Oka Castle was originally constructed in 1185, with many improvements and repairs completed around 1332. After 1594 more improvements were made including the addition of a donjon and palace. The donjon was later destroyed in an earthquake in the Edo period and the remaining buildings were dismantled in the Meiji Restoration (1874). Today only some of the walls remain.
Omi Hachiman Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt Hachiman in Omi Hachiman Shiga Prefecture. Omi Hachiman Castle commanded a great view of the plain below including a large part of Lake Biwa. Omi Hachiman Castle was constructed by Hashiba Hidetsugu in 1585, only to be abandoned by 1595. Today a temple is located on the site of Omi Hachiman Castle, however the some stone walls still remain.
Sakamoto Castle was a flatland style Japanese castle located on the shoreline of Lake Biwa in Sakamoto Shiga Prefecture. Sakamoto Castle was the home base for Akechi Mitsuhide, an aid to Nobunaga, who had his primary castle, Azuchi Castle, located on the other side of Lake Biwa. Today little remains of Sakamoto Castle, where only the stone foundations of the honmaru (inner bailey) can be seen.
Shigisan Castle was located at the summit of Mount Shigi in Nara Prefecture. Shigisan Castle was completed in 1536 and further expanded in 1559 to include a four story high tower. It was then destroyed in a siege in 1577. Today only ruins remain.
Tahara Castle (also known as Hako Castle) was a Japanese castle located in Tahara Aichi Prefecture. Munemitsu Toda constructed Tahara Castle in 1480. Today the Tahara Municipal Museum is located on the site.
Takaoka Castle was a Japanese castle built around 1600 and only to be dismantled in 1615 as part of the Tokugawa Shogunate order of "One Castle Per Province". Today only ruins remain including a few walls and earth works.
Takato Castle is a hill top style Japanese castle located in Ina Nagano Prefecture. Takato Castle was constructed around 1550, but was largely demolished in 1871 as part of the Meiji Restoration. Today some gate houses, earth works and moats remain.
Takayama Castle, located in Takayama, was built in on 627m high mountain with stone base, earth work defences and a moat. Construction of Takayama Castle began in 1588 and by 1600 the main and secondary castle keeps were completed. Today only some ruins and walls remain of Takayama Castle.
Tokushima Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Tokushima Tokushima Prefecture. Tokushima Castle was constructed in 1585, with a donjon added in three years later. Around 1615 the donjon was demolished and replaced by the three story Higashininomaru turret. In 1874 all the main structures with the exception of the Washino Gate were demolished as part of the Meiji Restoration. In 1945 a fire destroyed the Washino Gate and the remaining wooden buildings. Today only ruins remain of Tokushima Castle with only a section of wall and moat in what was the south eastern corner of the castle compound. In 1989 the Tokushima Castle Museum was opened on the site along with a
Tottori Castle was a mountain style Japanese castle located in Tottori Tottori Prefecture in Chugoku region. In 1581 Tottori Castle was besieged by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, which lasted 200 days forcing Kikkawa Tsuneie and his fellow defenders to surrender due to starvation. Today only some of the stone walls and one of the gates remain.
Urado Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located at the entrance to Urado Bay in Kochi City Kochi Prefecture. Urado Castle was used by Chosokabe Motochika for a period after 1591. In 1600 the Chosokabe lost the battle of Sekigahara and Urado Castle was awarded to Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, who only used it as his base for a few years while Kochi Castle was being rebuilt. Today only parts of walls and earthworks remain of the original Urado Castle.
Urasoe Castle was an Okinawan style Japanese castle located in Urasoe on the island of Okinawa. At the time of its construction in the late 13th century, Urasoe Castle was the centre of the Chuzan principality. During the 14th century Urasoe Castle was the largest castle on Okinawa. Urasoe Castle was destroyed in the 1609 invasion of Ryukyu by Satsuma. Today only ruins remain.
Yodo Castle was a flatland style Japanese castle located in Yodo Kyoto. Matsudaira Hidetada ordered the construction of Yodo Castle to protect Kyoto from the south. The construction of Yodo Castle was under the supervision of Matsudaira Sadatsuna, who used materials from Fushimi Castle to build the stone walls. The former donjon (tower) from Nijo Castle was reconstructed at Yodo Castle, with the larger donjon from Fushimi Castle going to Nijo Castle. Yodo Castle was destroyed in the 1868 Battle of Toba-Fushimi. Today only parts of the wall and moat of Yodo Castle remain.
Yuzuki Castle was a Japanese castle located near Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama Ehime Prefecture. Yuzuki Castle was upgraded from a fort in the 16th century, but was destroyed in battle in 1585 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Today only a few reconstructed buildings and earthworks remain.
JAPANESE CASTLES - SITE LOCATION
Little or no direct evidence that a Japanese Castle was located on the site. There may be subtle earth works or signs noting the location.
Fuchu Castle, also known as Echizen Fuchu Castle, was a flatland style Japanese Castle located in Echizen Fukui Prefecture. Maeda Toshiie ordered the construction of Fuchu Castle, which was completed in 1575. Fuchu Castle was just one of many castle built in the Echizen area. Today almost nothing can be seen of Fuchu Castle as it built over by Echizen City Hall.
Fukui Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Ibaraki Osaka Prefecture. Fukui Castle was burnt to the ground in 1657. Today only some earthworks remain. This Fukui Castle is not the same as the Fukui Castle in Fukui Prefecture.
Mito Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located in Mito Ibaraki Prefecture. Today it is very difficult to see that Mito Castle ever existed. Mito Castle never featured large stone walls or a donjon (tower), but it did have a moat and significant earthworks including a significant cutting into the rock on the south eastern side, which today has a train line running through it. Mito Castle was also protected by cliffs on the other two sides plus the Naka River. The first castle built on the site, Baba Castle, was constructed by Baba Sukemoto around 1200AD. In 1416 the castle was captured by the Edo clan, who then enlarged and improved the castle. The name was also changed to Mito Castle. In 1590 Toyotomi Hideyoshi awarded control of Mito Castle to Satake Yoshinobu. In 1609 the Tokugawa clan established control of Mito Castle. In 1625 the castle was upgraded including the construction of a three story turret, which was destroyed by fire in 1764, along with almost all the other buildings. Two years later a new turret was built which was three stories externally and five stories internally. In 1868 a fire, which could have been related to the national conflict at the time, destroyed many of the buildings. In 1871, as a part of the Meiji Restoration Mito Castle was decommissioned. 1945 the main turret was destroyed by fire caused by an Allied bombing raid.
Odani Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt Odani in Kohoku Shiga Prefecture. Odani Castle was built by the Azai clan, but fell to Oda Noburnaga in a siege. Odani Castle is considered to have been one of Japan's Five Greatest Mountain Castles. Today little remains of Odani Castle with only some earthworks visible.
Sawayama Castle was a hilltop style Japanese castle located on Mt Sawa in Hikone Shiga Prefecture. Sawayama Castle was built by the Azai clan, but control transferred to Ishida Mitsunari after the defeat of the Azai clan. fell to Oda Noburnaga in a siege. Sawayama Castle was awarded to Ii Naomasa after the Battle of Sekigahara. Sawayama Castle by this time was in poor condition and Ii Naomasa found the location to be inconvenient, so he planned to build a better located castle, Hikone Castle. The Ii clan destroyed Sawayama Castle, although, more likely many materials were used in the construction of Hikone Castle. Today little remains of Sawayama Castle with only some earthworks visible.
JAPANESE CASTLE MAP
See our interactive Japanese Castle Map which allows you to see the location of all the Japanese Castles and their related information.