Shiroishi Castle is a Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]
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.
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.
Sendai Castle, also known Aoba Castle, was a mountain top style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]
Funaoka Castle, also known as Shibata Castle, was a hilltop style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]