Japan’s 10 Fabulous Castles

Top 10 Japanese castles.

Himeji Castle

If you love castles and also travel in Japan, you’re in luck. According to Asahi TV, there are at least 4,000 castles and castle ruins in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Naturally, you won’t be able to visit them all in one (or even a dozen) trip. Luckily for you, TV Asahi asked its 10 thousand viewers and experts to evaluate which of them are the best in Japan, and we present them in our today’s article. The top 10 Japanese castles are a great place to start before you visit the remaining 3,990.

10. Hirosaki Castle (Aomori Prefecture)

Hirosaki Castle is one of the most northern fortresses in Japan. It is worth a visit even if you don’t plan to go inside the castle. The moat surrounding it is planted with cherry trees, and in spring it becomes one of the most beautiful places in the country to contemplate cherry trees.

Hirosaki Castle

9. Nijo Castle (Kyoto)

Unlike many other famous castles in the Land of the Rising Sun, Nijo Castle was built after the end of centuries of civil war in Japan known as the Sengoku period (1467-1603). Completed in 1679, Nijo Castle was more of a residence for the Shogun when he visited Kyoto from Edo (modern-day Tokyo), so it has a sprawling villa and spacious gardens, in stark contrast to the heavily fortified towers.

Nijo Castle

8. Goryokaku (Hokkaido)

Goryokaku Castle was built at the end of the feudal era, namely in 1855. So it is more modern in design than other castles from our top. There are few traces of the samurai era, but the beautiful star-shaped moat makes up for it.

Goryokaku Castle

7. Takeda Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)

Not much remains of Takeda Castle, but the ruins are definitely worth a visit. Located high in the mountains halfway between the northern and southern coasts of Japan, the castle ruins look like something otherworldly when shrouded in mist in the early morning.

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Takeda Castle

6. Nagoya Castle (Aichi Prefecture)

Nagoya Castle Has always been a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, almost everyone likes its majestic exterior, but the completely modernized interior spoils the impression for those travelers who would like to see what the interior used to be like and what life was like for the castle’s inhabitants. Luckily for them, the castle is about to be reconstructed from wood as it was originally and not the one you can see now (it was built after World War II from concrete).

Nagoya Castle

5. Shuri Castle (Okinawa Prefecture)

Okinawan Ryukyu culture is a mixture of local traditions and influences on the formerly independent kingdom from mainland Japan, China and other Asian cultures. This influence extends to Shuri Castle., which is one of the few fortresses in Japan with a stone courtyard at its center.

Shuri Castle

4. Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto Prefecture)

У Kumamoto Castlehad a difficult fate. Much of the fortress was burned during the Satsuma Rebellion (one of the armed rebellions that erupted when power was taken away from the shogun and restored by the emperor in the late 1900s). The castle has also suffered numerous earthquakes, most recently in 2016, when one of its majestic walls collapsed. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions on Kyushu Island.

Kumamoto Castle

3. Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)

Although Matsumoto Castle has been renovated several times, it has been preserved since the early 1500s. It is especially impressive when you look at its reflection in the surrounding moat.

Matsumoto Castle

2. Osaka Castle (Osaka Prefecture)

Surrounded by many skyscrapers visible on the horizon, Osaka Castleis perhaps the best example of how Japan weaves its traditional past into modern life.

Osaka Castle

1. Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)

Himeji Castle is considered to be the best-preserved castle in all of Japan. This is made possible by the fact that over the many centuries since it was built, the castle has suffered remarkably little damage. Himeji Castle was never besieged during the feudal period and survived the bombing of the city during World War II.

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