There were once about 5000 castles in Japan, but today there are only about 50 left. Here are 10 favorite Japanese castles.
You may have seen this castle as a ninja training school in James Bond’s You Only Live Twice. It also appeared in The Last Samurai, several Kurosawa movies, and in the TV miniseries, Shogun. Also known as the “White Heron Castle”, Himeji Castle was originally built in the 14th century, and then rebuilt in 1580.
Matsumoto Castle was built in the 16th century and is sometimes called Crow’s Castle because of it’s black color.
Also known as “Mist Castle” because of the legendary mist that obscures the castle when enemies approach. Maruoka Castle was built in 1576 and is located in Sakai, Japan.
Hiroshima Castle was built in the 1590s and destroyed in WWII by an atomic bomb. It has since been rebuilt and is now a museum.
Fukuyama Castle (a.k.a. Hisamatsu Castle or Iyō Castle)
Originally built with a double moat in the 17th century, Fukuyama Castle was a major castle of the Edo Period. It was rebuilt after WWII and contains a history museum.
Built somewhere between 1394 and 1427, Kiyosu Castle is located in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It was a base of Oda Nobunaga who appeared in the Kurosawa movie Kagemusha, and as Goroda in James Clavell’s Shogun.
Also known as the “Black Castle”, it is one of the few castles in Japan that is the original wooden form. From the outside it looks like a five-story castle, but has a hidden sixth-level. Matsue Castle was completed in 1622.
Built in the early 16th century, Nagoya Castle was rebuilt after being destroyed in WWII where it was also used as a POW camp.
Okayama Castle is a spectacular black castle located in Okayama Japan sometimes called “Crow Castle”.
Shimabara Castle is a 5-story white castle located in Nagasaki Prefecture. The taxes imposed on the local farmers to build the castle were so severe that they revolted in an event called the Shimabara Rebellion. Shimabara Castle was completed in 1624.