All Japanese Castles

Japanese Castles

Guide to over 130 Japanese Castles including history, design, architecture, pictures and interactive map.  Only one Japanese Castle has UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the recently restored Himeji Castle. Three other castles, along with Himeji Castle, have been declared National Treasures by the Japanese Government: Hikone Castle, Matsumoto Castle and Inuyama Castle.

Japanese castles were frequently constructed in strategic locations to protect important transport routes such as bridges, rivers or ports. Others were built to dominate a landscape and provide a final point of defense. Many Japanese castles were the basis for the development of cities, while others were located in difficult to reach mountain tops.

The most common type of Japanese castle is the Flat Land, that 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, turrets and donjon or main tower.

Himeji Castle UNESCO World Heritage Site

Himeji Castle UNESCO World Heritage Site

Japanese castles really came of age in the 14th century, reaching their peak in 17th century. However by the late 19th century the roll of castles had change. Modern canons of the time could destroy enough from a distance making castles far more vulnerable than they had been in the past. This meant castles were no longer of such great defensive value, however they still represented a symbol of great power over the people of a region, who didn’t have any weapons that could threaten a castle. With most of Japan unified under one relatively recent central government, the remaining castles represented symbols of regional power that could threaten the level of control a distant government could exert. It was during this period the Meiji Restoration, when most castles either had their donjon (main tower) or in some cases almost all stone work disassembled.

  • Okazaki Castle

    Okazaki Castle is a Japanese Castle in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. Okazaki Castle was demolished in during the Meiji Restoration (1874). A modern reconstruction of donjon was built in 1959.

  • Nagashino Castle

    Nagashino Castle was a flatland style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Kiyosu Castle

    Kiyosu Castle is a Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Komakiyama Castle

    Komakiyama Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Iwasaki Castle

    Iwasaki Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Ina Castle

    Ina Castle was a Japanese Castle in the Kozakai area of Toyokawa City Aichi Prefecture 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 Read more [...]

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    Inuyama Castle

    Inuyama Castle is a Japanese Castle, 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 were many additions and upgrades over time. Most of Inuyama Castle is in original condition Read more [...]

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    Nagoya Castle

    Nagoya Castle is particularly famous as it was Tokugawa Ieyasu who ordered the construction of the castle in 1612. Nagoya Castle is one of the top Nagoya attractions. Nagoya Castle is a flat land style Japanese Castle with a massive inner moat and wall. Nagoya Castle was badly damaged during World War Read more [...]

  • Hirosaki Castle

    Hirosaki Castle is a flatland style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Chiba Castle

    Chiba Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle in Inohana Park Chiba city. Chiba Castle was first constructed in 1126 by Chiba Tsuneshige. In 1455 Makuwari Yasutane attacked Chiba Castle and took control of what was left. While Makuwari Yasutane took the name of Chiba (he was already related), he Read more [...]