All Japanese Castles in Oita Prefecture

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.

  • Oka Castle

    Oka Castle was a mountain top style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Saiki Castle

    Saiki Castle, also known as Tsuruya Castle, was a hill top style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Usuki Castle

    Usuki Castle, also known as Niyuujima Castle, is a hill top style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Hiji Castle

    Hiji Castle was a hilltop style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Kitsuki Castle

    Kitsuki Castle was a hilltop style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Nakatsu Castle

    Nakatsu Castle is a flat land style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]

  • Funai Castle

    Funai Castle, also known as Oita Castle, is a flat land style Japanese Castle 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 Read more [...]