Experiences - Asia

5 Historic Japanese Castles

When you visit Japan you would be boggled with choices to visit the many attractions along with the stunning and beautiful castles that it houses.

Japan is known to have more than 5000 castles and Japanese castles are known as Shiro. They were constructed primarily of wood and stone and evolved from the wooden stockades in the 16th century.

They were built to guard important or strategic sites, such as ports, river crossings, or crossroads, and almost always incorporated the landscape into their defense. Their architecture is truly an engineering marvel and speaks volumes about the culture and traditions of the land.

Among the numerous Japanese castles we present to you the top five castles you can’t possibly miss while you’re there.


Himeji Castle

Japanese Himeji Castle

Image Courtesy: alisdair used under the Creative Commons Licence

One of the largest castles in Japan with 83 buildings, three moats and twisting alleyways spread over 233 hectares is located in the Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture and was built in 1333. The buildings here are authentic and it is the most visited castle in Japan. Himeji Castle has survived major earthquakes, war and fire.


Kumamoto Castle

Japanese Kumamoto Castle

Image Courtesy: Tzuhsun Hsu used under the Creative Commons Licence

Located in the Honmaru, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto Castle was built in 1467 and has 49 turrets and a palace. The castle is one of the primary attractions in the Kumamoto city. It was built by the warrior, Kiyomasa Kato and it took about seven years to complete. The castle site was a place of a large battle between samurai and government troops at the turbulent end of the Edo-era. It is a mix of reconstructed buildings with 13 original structures today.


Hiroshima Castle

Japanese Hiroshima Castle

Image Courtesy: OZinOH used under the Creative Commons Licence

Among the other majestic structures that stand tall in Japan, the Hiroshima castle is one of them. Although it was destroyed by the atomic bombing incident in 1945 during the second World War it has still managed to look stunning and stand tall. It is located in Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima Prefecture. It is also known as the carp castle and was built in 1589 by the daimyo Mori Terumoto. The building is five stories tall, and its grounds are surrounded by a moat. It also houses a shrine within the castle’s precincts. The castle is said to be going through modern renovations.


Nagoya Castle

Japanese Nagoya Castles

Image Courtesy: Marufish used under the Creative Commons Licence

The Nagoya castle is located in the Honmaru, Nagoya of Aichi Prefecture. It stands 48m high with impressive views of the city below and is set in park land (Meijo Koen) which now houses a modern museum. The surroundings around the castle is a popular spot for Hanami in Spring.


Osaka Castle

Japanese Osaka Castles

Image Courtesy: Chee Kweng Teoh used under the Creative Commons Licence

Osaka Castle is a large castle that saw a great number of battles that changed the course of Japanese history. Situated in the Osaka Prefecture this castle is one of the most prominent architectural marvels of Japan. It played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. The castle grounds are also a great stop for viewing cherry blossom in spring with a breathtaking view.

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