30 Best Castles You Can’t Miss in Japan

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Source: t-mizo 

Japan is a country with a lot of beautiful old castles. There were even many before, but a lot were destroyed due to wars and natural disasters. While most of the remaining ones were reconditioned, there are still a few that stand partially ruined. Nevertheless, all the castles in this list are worth a visit!

1. Himeji Castle

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Source: Ludovic Lubeigt

Almost looking like a labyrinth, Himeji Castle is made from more than 80 buildings that finely represent 14th century’s architecture. One of the most visited castles in Japan, extremely during the cherry blossoms season.

Information

  • Price:  1000 yen (only for the castle),  1040 yen (castle + Kokoen Garden)
  • Access: a 20 minute walk from Himeji Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday:  December 29 and 30
  • Website (English): http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/

2. Hiroshima Castle

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Source: Richard Riley

Even though it was severely damaged after the atomic bomb, Hiroshima Castle was reconstructed and stands now as imposing as ever. Within the castle’s domain there are three trees that survived the atomic blast and are now preserved.

Information

  • Price: 370 yen
  • Access: a 10 minute walk from Kamiyacho-nishi tram station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 18:00
  • Holiday: December 29 to December 31
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.rijo-castle.jp/

 3. Matsumoto Castle

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Source: haru_q

Because of its black exterior walls, Matsumoto Castle is also known as the “Crow Castle”. Unlike other castles, it wasn’t built on a hill or surrounded by water for better defense. Instead, it has many connecting walls, gatehouses and moats.

Information

  • Price: 610 yen
  • Access: a 15 minute walk from Matsumoto Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: December 29 to January 3
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.matsumoto-castle.jp/

4. Inuyama Castle

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Source: Jeremy Eades

Inuyama Castle is smaller than other Japanese castles, but nonetheless extremely interesting. Standing on a hill next to a wide river, the building creates quite a striking sight.

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access:  a 15 minute walk from Inuyama Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday:  December 29 to 31
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.inuyamajohb.org/index01.html

5. Nagoya  Castle

Nagoya Castle’s green roofs make a beautiful contrast with the blue sky on sunny days . Many parts of the castle were unfortunately destroyed during World War II, but they were reconstructed or under reconstruction at the moment,

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access: a 3 minute walk from Shiyakusho Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 16:30
  • Holiday:  December 29 to January 1
  • Website (English): http://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp/13_english/index.html

6. Ueda Castle

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Source: Kimon Berlin

Ueda Castle is considered one of the strongest castles in Japan as it was attacked by the Tokugawa army twice but was not defeated. Its garden is one of the most important Cherry Blossom viewing spots in Nagano.

Information

  • Price: 250 yen
  • Access: a 10 minute walk from Ueda Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: Wednesdays
  • Website (Japanese): http://uedajyou.com/

7. Nakatsu Castle

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Source: redlegsfan21

Nakatsu Castle is considered one of the three great water castles of Japan due to its construction next to the sea for better defense. Beautiful views of the surrounding area can be observed for the top floor.

Information

  • Price: 400 yen
  • Access:  a 15 minute walk from Nakatsu Stiation
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  17:00
  • Holiday:  none
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.nakatsujyo.jp/

8. Koriyama Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Koriyama Castle is interesting because stones from the nearby temples were gathered and used to build its wall. Even a small jizo statue was taken and used. The main gate of the castle was also originally a temple’s gate.

Information

  • Price: free
  • Access: a 7 minute walk from  Kintetsu Koriyama Statio
  • Opening hour:  always open
  • Holiday: none

9. Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle

Source: JoshBerglund19

Kumamoto Castle is unfortunately one of the many castles which were destroyed in civil wars, but it was reconstructed using the original plans. The castle is also a popular cherry blossom spot with more than 800 cherry trees.

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access: just outside Kumamotojo Mae tram station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 18:00
  • Holiday:  December 30 to 31
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.manyou-kumamoto.jp/castle/

10. Osaka Castle

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Source: Carl Nenzén Lovén

Osaka Castle is very popular during spring and autumn for blooming flower trees and autumn colors. It also has a very impressive stone wall which spreads for over 12 kilometers and has almost a million stones inside.

Information

  • Price: 600 yen
  • Access: a 20 minute walk from Tanimachi 4 chome Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: December 28 to January 1
  • Website (English): http://www.osakacastle.net/english/index.html

11. Ozu Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

An interesting castle built next to the Hijikawa River, Ozu Castle is surrounded by greenery and offers exceptional views of the Ozu city.

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access: a 15 minute walk from Iyo Ozu Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (Japanese): http://page-on.ocn.ne.jp/close.html

12. Matsue Castle

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Source: GanMed64

Matsue Castle is one of the few remaining original castles in the whole country. It is possible to observe the castle from a sightseeing boat tour from the Horikawa river.

Information

  • Price: 560 yen
  • Access:  a 15 minute walk from  Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 18:30
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.matsue-tourism.or.jp/m_castle/

13. Katsuren Castle Ruins

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Source: Nelo Hotsuma

Although just ruins remain, Katsuren Castle is located on a hill next to the ocean, offering magnificent views of the water and the surrounding area.

Information

  • Price: free
  • Access: an hour by car from Naha city
  • Opening hour: always open
  • Holiday: none

14. Hirosaki Castle

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Source: Ari Helminen

Hirosaki castle is very popular in spring, attract the most visitors thanks to the blossoming of the approximately 2600 cherry trees around the castle. A festival is also held when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Information

  • Price: 310 yen
  • Access: a 30 minute walk from Hirosaki Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: November 24 to March 31
  • Website (English): http://www.hirosakipark.jp/en/

15. Nijo Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Located in the well known Kyoto city, Nijo Castle is famous for its nightingale floors that are specifically design to squeak when someone steps on them. This design was created to prevent someone from sneaking in the castle.

Information

  • Price: 600 yen
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Nijojo Mae Station
  • Opening hour: 08:45
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: irregular days
  • Website (English): http://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/bunshi/nijojo/english/

16. Hikone Castle

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Source: Yazan Badran

Hikone Castle is built next to Lake Biwa, one of the largest lakes in Japan. Besides the marvelous surroundings and the beauty of the castle itself, it is also worth visiting the Genkyu-en garden which stands on the castle grounds.

Information

  • Price: 600 yen
  • Access: a 15 minute walk from Hikone Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 17:30
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.hikoneshi.com/jp/castle/

17. Takeda Castle Ruins

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Source: Noriyo Nakayama

Even though the castle is in ruins now, it is one of the most beautiful places in Japan. Located on mountain that is often surrounded by a sea of clouds, the view will leave you absolutely speechless.

Information

  • Price: free
  • Access: 1 hour walk from Takeda Station
  • Opening hour: always open
  • Holiday: none

18. Shuri Castle

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Source: Kabacchi

Shuri Castle is different because it doesn’t have the architecture of most castles in Japan. It almost looks like a temple. Its location on the top of a hill also offers magnificent views of the Naha city.

Information

  • Price: 820 yen
  • Access: 20 minute walk from Shuri Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 19:00
  • Holiday: First Wednesday and Thursday every  July
  • Website (Japanese): http://oki-park.jp/shurijo/

19. Shimabara Castle

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Source: Luxtonnerre

Shimabara Castle’s top floor offers extraordinary views of the surrounding area, from the peaks of Unzen Mountains to the waves of the ocean. You can also enjoy observing hundreds of lotus flowers on the waters that encompass the castle.

Information

  • Price: 540 yen
  • Access: a 10 minute walk from Shimabara Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  17:00
  • Holiday:  December 29 to 30
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.shimabarajou.jp/

20. Tsuruga Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Tsuruga Castle is surrounded by lovely cherry trees and offers outstanding views from the observation deck at the top floor. You can also visit Oyakuen, a villa that was used by Aizu lords, as well as Kasamainari Shrine and the Rinkaku Teahouse.

Information

  • Price: 410 yen
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Tsurugajo Kitaguchi bus station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday:  none
  • Website (English): http://www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng/

21. Marugame Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Another one of the few Japanese castles that are still intact since the moment they were built, Marugame Castle is small, but being located on a tall hill, offers beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding city and the Seto Sea in the distance.

Information

  • Price: free
  • Access: a 15 minute walk from MMarugame Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  16:30
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.city.marugame.kagawa.jp/sightseeing/spot/marugamejo/index.html

22. Matsuyama Castle

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Source: fooomio

Besides visiting the castle and relaxing in the exceptional Ninomaru Garden, at Matsuyama Castle you can dress yourself in a full set of armors, which will surely make you feel like you went back in time.

Information

  • Price: 510 yen
  • Access:  a 5 minute walk from Okaido tram station to the ropeway and chairlift that goes to the castle
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: December 29
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.matsuyamajo.jp/

23. Takato Castle Ruins

TakatoCastle(高遠城)

Source: Wikimedia

Takato Castle, although in ruins, is one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing in the whole country. There are over 1500 cherry blossoms trees surrounding the castle, but not of the usual type which can usually be seen in Japan. Their blossoms are of a reddish shade and the flowers are smaller, therefore were declared a natural treasure of the area.

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access: just outside Takato Bus Station ( the bus can be taken from Inashi Station )
  • Opening hour: 08:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (Japanese): http://takato-inacity.jp/h26/

24. Edo Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Edo Castle is currently part of the Imperial Palace of Japan. Surrounded by beautiful traditional gardens and located in the capital, it is perhaps the most visited castles in the country.

Information

  • Price: free
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Otemachi Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 16:30
  • Holiday: irregular days
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/

25. Kanzawa Castle

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Source: lensonjapan

The main attraction at Kanazawa Castle besides the building itself is the park that surrounds it. The park is rich in beautiful trees, plants, and even wild animals like raccoon dogs.

Information

  • Price:  310 yen
  • Access: in front of Kenrokuen-shita bus stop ( the bus can be taken from Kanazawa Station )
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  16:30
  • Holiday: none
  • Website (English):  http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kanazawajou/e/

26. Azuchi Castle

 

Osaka Castle is one of Japan's most famous and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Nikon D7100 | 48mm | 1/100 sec | f/16 | iso 100 Follow me on My Blog | Twitter | EyeEm | Instagram | Google+

Source: Roman Emin

Azuchi Castle is a bit different from most castles in Japan for its appearance. Its exterior is colored in yellow, blue and red against the white walls. Looking at the castle on a sunny day makes quite a sight.

Information

  • Price: 500 yen
  • Access: a 30 minute walk from Azuchi Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hours: 17:00
  • Holiday: irregular days

27. Okayama Castle

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Source: Ruth Hartnup

The impressive Okayama Castle almost looks like an oversized villa. Its black exterior is one of the most striking features of the castle. The Okayama Korakuen Garden is also extremely impressing with its traditional Japanese plants and arrangements.

Information

  • Price: 300 yen
  • Access: a 25 minute walk from Okayama Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  17:00
  • Holiday: December 29 to 31
  • Website (English): http://okayama-kanko.net/ujo/english/

28. Iwakuni Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

The Iwakuni Castle was built on top of Mount Shiroyama and can now be accessed by a ropeway. Being built at more than 100 meter altitude, the surrounding views are spectacular.

Information

  • Price: 260 yen
  • Access: the ropeway station is close to Kintai Kyo bus station (the bus can be taken from  Iwakuni train station)
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 16:45
  • Holiday:  December 16 to 31

29. Takamatsu Castle

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Source: Yoshikazu Takada

The site of many important historical battles, Takamatsu Castle attracts many tourists nowadays thanks to its natural surroundings, where people can relax between many varieties of trees like pines and cherries.

Information

  • Price: 200 yen
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Takamatsu Station
  • Opening hour: irregular hours
  • Closing hour: irregular hours
  • Holiday:  December 29 to 31
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.takamatsujyo.com/

30. Fukuyama Castle

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Source: Hiroyuki Nakano

The grounds of Fukuyama Castle were turned into a park, which is now very popular among locals and visitors, the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon. The views are particularly beautiful in spring and autumn.

Information

  • Price: 200 yen
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Fukuyama Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: Mondays
  • Website (Japanese): http://www.city.fukuyama.hiroshima.jp/site/fukuyamajo/

As you have seen by reading this list, all the castles in Japan are located in the middle of nature, with extraordinary views. Even if you’re not interested in architecture and history, these castles are still worth a visit!

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan