Japanese castles sometimes look like too simple. But some castles are gorgeous and gallant. Here are beautiful castles in Japan.
1. Hirosaki Castle
A hilltop castle in northern Japan, Hirosaki Castle is known for its five original turreted gates, fortified moats and sprawling grounds.
Planted with more than 2,500 cherry trees, the grounds play host to one of Japan’s largest cherry blossom festivals each spring.
2. Hikone Castle
Hikone Castle offers visitors a real insight into how Japan’s castle complexes looked during their heyday.
The original gardens, gates and guard houses have been as carefully preserved as the main keep. The castle remained under control of the Ii daimyo feudal lords until 1868.
3. Matsue Castle
The only castle remaining in the San’in Region on the southwest coast of Japan’s main island, Matsue Castle is unique it that it never saw military action, although it was constructed in a defensive, watchtower style.
Built in 1611, the hilltop fortress was completed after the last great feudal war. During the 1950s, reconstruction of the fortress began. The castle’s nickname, “The Black Tower,” reflects the keep’s striking ebony color.
4. Okayama Castle
The Crow Castle or karasu-jo, as the Japanese call it, was built in 1597 and was known as the Golden Crow Castle due to its gilded roof tiles.
The original Azuchi-Momoyama style structures of Okayama were destroyed by an air-bombing in World War II, so the keep had to be reconstructed out of concrete, in 1966. Tourists visiting Okayama Castles can learn a lot about its interesting history from the many exhibits displayed inside the keep.
5. Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle was established in 1589, by Mori Terumoto, before there was even a Hiroshima City. The castle was torn down with the abolition of the feudal system during the Meiji Restoration in 1869.
Following the Meiji Restoration, the castle served as a military facility and even the Imperial General Headquarters during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).
6. Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle (Naha, Okinawa Prefecture) is one of the most unique castles found in all of Japan and is located in Naha, Okinawa.
The castle was constructed sometime in the 14th century and was last rebuilt in 1992. Its design and layout secured its spot on our list of Japan’s Must See Castles.
7. Nijo Castle
The Nijo Castle (Kyoto) was built in 1626 and was originally designed to be the Kyoto residence for the Tokugawa Shogunate.
A fire burned down the Inner Palace in 1788, and then had over 100 years of vacancy until a prince moved back in 1893. Its architectural beauty, history, and views make it one of Japan’s Must See Castles.
8. Matsuyama Castle
Matsuyama Castle, located in Matsuyama City in Ehime, is a five story flatland castle that was built in 1603. These sections are still under renovation, but are mainly finished and are a beautiful attraction to go see.
All in the entire castle makes for a rather unique experience that anyone coming to Ehime should take part in.