126 Castle Visits
- Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
This is a nice site to visit. The tenshukaku being a concrete one isn't a big problem. It houses a nice museum with a lot of information about the history of the place and more in particular about the Boshin-war. The view from the top is outstanding. The 2 reconstructions in wood are a great addition to the castle. The Rinkaku teahouse is worth to visit. After that i went to the Prefectural museum, just next to the castle-site. Then i took a bus to the Aizu bukeyashiki, which is truly informative.
- Akashi Castle
Two days ago i went to this castle. The turrets are nice and indeed the walls are impressive. Sadly the weather was very bad, so i couldn't appreciate to the fullest the site. I think with beautiful weather i would have stayed longer in the parc, which is very nice for a stroll. I appreciated the pontoon they have built behind the wall. It gives you almost the position of a shooter over the wall(such devices were installed at some castles during sieges, that's why some of the firing holes are very low. The men below had to kneel for firing their weapons). It is very difficult to take a nice picture from the JR station. There are some electric cables hanging in between.
- Akita Castle
I went with a bus to this site this morning. Any bus from busstop #5 at the west exit of the Akita station are passing near the site. You need to get off at Gokukojinja'iriguchi. It's a 360¥ ride and is about 20min. Be aware, the busstop-name doesn't appear on the bill-board. You have to be very attentive to the little voice telling the next stop. I found this weird. I never experienced this in Japan. The site is about 700m from the busstop. There are several explanation boards on the site. Even in english. There are 3 reconstructed buildings. The outer eastern gate with a part of its wall. The inner eastern gate with also a part of its wall(here are no photos of this, do you need some Eric?). And the last rebuilt structure is a flush lavatory. It's the first time i saw such a structure on castle grounds. I found it interesting. In the museum i saw a little video of the history of the castle, only in japanese. There are some artifacts found during the excavations. The structures changed six times when the site was used and some models show these changes. The site is completely free to visit.
- Ako Castle
I visited this site today. It is a very nice place to be during sakura-time. The park is surrounded by a lot of ishigaki and they are still reconstructing some parts of it. It's easy accessible. From the south-exit of Banshu-Ako station it's straight ahead. There aren't alot of buildings, but they made some kind of elevated map in the honmaru, where the palace once stood. The Oishi-jinja, related to the 47 ronin, stands inside the ishigaki.
- Ansho Castle
After Nishiojou and Toujoujou, i went to this site. I decided to go there because i changed from the Meitetsu-line to the JR-line in this city. The stations are 1km from each other and the site of the castle is 1km on the same road but in the other direction from Minamianjo-station on the Meitetsu-line. There is indeed not alot to see. I like also temples and shrines, so i wasn't completely disappointed. If you go for a castle you'll be very disappointed.
- Arato Castle
The location of this little yamashiro and the buildings reconstructed are very nice, but don't expect a castle like Himeji or Matsumoto.
- Aya Castle
This is a castle reconstruction like they all should be. Very nice little castle and some interesting artifacts. When i arrived at Miyazakistation yesterday i went to the informationdesk to buy the 'Visit Miyazaki Bus Card'. For 1000yen you can take buses in Miyazaki and to extended cities, like Aya. This card is only for foreigners living outside Japan. The lady at the desk was really helpfull. She told me to take a bus in front of the station, east-exit, at busstop 2. The number of the bus is 304 or 305, bound for Aya. But afterwards i saw that there are more buses passing on the Tachibanastreet, the station being scarcely deserved by these buses. I took a 304 at Tachibanadori 3 chome busstop and the bus stops in the center of Aya. The fee was 1030yen, so the card was really interesting. After that i took a taxi, because the rain fell alot this morning. The fee for the taxi is 560yen. There are taxi's just in front of the busterminal. If you are in the area, you should go to Ayajo.
- Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
I went today to this castle. Really a nice castle to go, even with bad weather, like i had. The castIe was surrounded by a cloud and from time to time i had to wait that the wind blowed a little bit to take a photo. I took a taxi up to the castle(1250yen). I didn't go to the ruins behind the castle, because the paths were too muddy and slippery. When i wanted to walk back, it was really heavily downpouring. I was actually fortune. A visitor(i saw 4 on the site) asked me where i was heading. He took me to the bukeyashiki, where i started a walk at the Old Orii residence to end at the Shorinji. The Orii home has very nice buildings with the one in the backyard having some arms and armors on display. This little town is a 'must go'.
- Bitchu Takamatsu Castle
I'm at home since monday evening. I'm still putting my photos and other stuff together from my journey in Japan. I visited this site after Kinojô. It is just 2 stations away. I intended to give this castle also to this site, damn Phibbyfan, lol. There is really not alot to see here, but i found the site interesting to visit. Actually there are 2 sites. The site of the castle and the site of the kawazugahana remnants. These are only 1km apart from each other and there are plenty of direction-signs (with english). On the site of the kawazugahana there are only explanations in japanese, but on the castle grounds there is 1 big panel with english translation. It is better to begin your visit with the kawazugahana. Just walk under the very big torii leading to the Saijo Inari shrine(you can't miss it). Turn right on the second little path to the site. From there follow the directions on the signs. You'll have to walk a little back to go to the castle remnants. It is interesting to note that the seppuku of Shimizu Munehara was the only condition for a truce between the Mori and Hashiba(later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi. Hashiba needed this truce, because he learned of the murder of Oda Nobunaga, his master, at Honnoji by Akechi Mitsuhide. He wanted to be the avenger and he did at the battle of Yamazaki. From this point Hashiba steadily grew in power to become the most prominent figure in Japan.
- Echizen Katsuyama Castle
- Echizen Ohno Castle
Yesterday i went to this castle. It's lookout is very nice. The castle(=certainly concrete(lol)) has some artifacts on display. The city is commemorating the 430 years of it. There are some artifacts in the exhibition hall, but eveything is in japanese. For that i give the castle only 2 stars.
- Edo Castle
Since i was only visiting Tokyo for 2 days, i had to make a choice. Or visiting on sunday the Eastern gardens(closed on monday) or visiting today the palace grounds (closed on weekends). I decided to visit the palace grounds. I think it is more rewarding because you pass really next to the Fujimi-yagura and you see the Fushimi-yagura,which some parts are being restored. After the visit i did a complete tour around the park. There are alot of masugata-mon all over the place. It was really interesting. Next time i'll try to visit the eastern gardens.
- Fukuchiyama Castle
Today i visited this castle.It's a really nice reconstruction. The interior is a modern one with little artifacts on show, but with a very nice lookout. If you come/go from/to Kyoto, prepare to take a picture on the train. You will pass not that far from the castle and it's the unique chance to take a nice picture from afar. I discovered it too late and tried to make a photo on the train to Osaka. Sadly this line is further away from the castle.
- Fukui Castle
After Maruoka i had some time left for visiting Fukui.(my hotel is just next to the trainstation)Normally i don't visit castleruins, but i have to say that this one is interesting. There are some panels around the moat(in english too)telling the story of Fukui-city and -castle. In 2008 the Oroka-bridge was restored to celebrate the 400 years of Fukui-castle. It is a covered bridge and for this i give 2 stars.
- Fukuoka Castle
I arrived today in Japan and landed directly in Fukuoka. After visiting some temples and shrines i went to this site. Since it was raining this morning i took the subway to Asakasa-station. From there it is a small walk to the site. There are now very big excavations fo the diplomatic center Kôrokan of the Heian period. The first building entering the site of the castle is the information center. Don't miss it, they'll provide you with a map of the site in english. Look at the explanation-movie. You will see some 3d rendering of the castle. Go then to the Kôrokan where you can obtain the nihon 100 meijô-stamp. From there follow the route on the map. You will go to every interesting place and building. There are lots of information panels(with english). The buildings and ishigaki are interesting.
- Fukuyama Castle
I went to this castle after visiting Suigunjo on Innoshima(not present on this site, but i'll give the info to the webmaster when back home). So i came from Onnomichi and saw the castle from the train. Since i use a JR-pass i have access to the Shinkansen-tracks without further costs. I took some photos from the track to Osaka. You may slide the windows to take photos, but don't forget to close them back. The castle is very impressive from the outside as stated below. Nevertheless i went inside and the artifacts on show are certainly worth the 200 yen entrance fee. Sadly nothing is translated. For the 2 original buildings on the site i give 4 stars to this castle.
- Funai Castle
The site has several reconstructed towers and some ishigaki. There is no museum. The nihon 100 meijo stamp is at the entrance of the cultural hall, which is on the castle-grounds. There is a lovely park next to the tenshukakudai. Imo the most interesting building on this site is the roukabashi, which is the only structure where you can enter.
- Fushimi Castle
I went here after Shoryuji castle. I completely agree with Raymond. It is a very nice reconstruction. It should be a 1,5 star, but this is not possible, so i give it 2 stars. It is closed, but i don't even know if it opens for the public. Perhaps on special occasions.
- Ganjaku Castle
- Gifu Castle
I hiked up to this castle today.(@Webmater: little hike lol)It's a pitty that the montain is covered with trees, it's impossible to make a lot of nice photos of the castle. The castle itself isn't that fine(concrete), but the artifacts are interesting. Don't miss the little museum, which is in the price of the castle(=200yen).
- Goryokaku Fort
Yesterday evening was chilly, but this morning the weather was already nice to visit this site. I took the streetcar from the Hakodate station to the Goryogakukoenmae. One ride is 230¥. From there it's about 1km to the Goryogaku tower. The entrance fee to the observatory is 840¥. You have a good view of the fort and of the city. After that i walked all around the site before entering the park. Like Kris said, there are numerous explanation boards all over the site. The entrance fee to the magistrate's office is 500¥. It's a very well reconstructed building. There is only one original structure. It's the white building on the photo, a little bit to the left of the centre. It's a storehouse and it's closed to the public. Since the weather was nice, i liked to stroll around.
- Gujo Hachiman Castle
Yesterday i went to this castle. The castle(=concrete)is not that nice, but the location on the hill is splendid. The lookout is marvelous and there are alot of things to see in the little town.
- Hamamatsu Castle
I was a little disappointed by this castle. The location isn't very nice and the armors inside are replicas.
- Hikone Castle
This is really a must. The site is marvelous and the castle is very nice. There is not alot to see in the castle, but the structure alone is breathtaking. There are alot of structures where you can go inside. I paid 1000yen for the castle, museum and garden. If you want to see the castle alone it is 600yen. The museum has some artifacts related to the Sengokujidai, but most of it consists of tea-ceremony, noh-theatre and music instruments. The museum is actually a reconstruction of the goten, so you can feel how it was living in those buildings.
- Himeji Castle
I'm back in Japan, but I'm not going to do a castle-run this year. I'm accompying a friend's daughter for her first journey to Japan. Of course this castle could not be left aside for the voyage. Today we went to the castle. We had to do the queue for one hour before entering the tenshukaku, then it was some kind of a constant walk in the donjon, because so much people were inside. It was still interesting to see the structure without the weapons and armors. I saw also a model of the castle during the time of Kuroda Kanbei. Of course it had nothing to do with the actual castle. Doing the queue was somehow annoying but i still enjoyed the visit. For info the staff closed the castle's entry earlier, because of the great number of visitors.
- Hirado Castle
Nice castle to visit. They at least tried to put some colors resembling wood. You are able to take photos of everything. After the castle i visited some other places of interest in the city. One for samurai-history-fans is surely the Matsura historical museum. From there you can take a picture of almost all towers of the castle afar. Inside you may take pictures without flash. The artifacts are really wonderfull. They have a byoubu(=folding screen) of the battle of Nagashino, and some other battles. I first had planned to take the train from Sasebo-station, but i decided to use the bus. You have to take it at busstop 2 in front of the east-exit of Sasebo-station. You can take it to the busterminal at Hirado, but i went off at the Saiwai-bridge.(the fee is the same : 1300yen) from there it is easy to walk to the castle or anywhere in the city. The time with the bus is +/-1h30min. This is the same time from Sasebo-station to Tabirahirdoguchi-station. The fee for the train is 1190yen, but you still have to take a bus or walk to Hirado(=+/-4.5km) The way back is very easy, the end-stop of the bus is at the Sasebo-station.
- Hirosaki Castle
I finally visted the 12 castles with original tenshukaku. The yaguramon were indeed very impressive as noted by Eric. The moat in front of the honmaru is covered and they are preparing to move the tenshukaku to the centre of the honmaru. Some trees and other plants were being moved this morning. The tenshukaku is closed due to the repairs, but it was still on its original place. After the castle i visited the bukeyashiki in the north, just behind the kamenokomon. They are free of charge, only the Ishiba residence is 100¥. The old lady there gave me an english explanation of the place. First i thought it was for me to keep, but actually you have to read it and give it back.
- Hiroshima Castle
This is a beautiful castle from the outside, at least the reconstructed yagura of the ninomaru are in traditional materials and add alot to the prestige of this place. The museum in the tenshukaku is a decent one and worth a visit. I find it a bit less photogenic than Imabarijo, because of the tall buildings almost around the site.
- Hitoyoshi Castle
The weather was nice today, not like yesterday, and this made the visit to this site more interesting. It is a nice park to stroll around and the reconstructed buildings are well done. In the little museum you'll find the nihon 100 meijo stamp.
- Hotta no Saku
Today i did 3 sites, but the 2nd isn't on this site. It isn't a castle, just a fenced off settlement of the end of the Jomon period and early Yayoi period. So i began my day with Hotta no Saku. I took the train to Omagari and then a taxi to the site. The drive is 2610¥. On the other side of the street is a small museum containing almost only Jomon pottery. They accepted to take my backpack untill i had visited the castle. I went to the small information building, where you can see a short film about the site. There are small bikes to use freely on the site. You receive a map with the roads where you may ride and where you have to walk with the bike. On the castle-site were a group of about 20 elderly people playing some kind of mini-golf. There is a rebuild storehouse where they put their stuff. After going around with the bike i returned to the museum to get my backpack. They friendly called for a taxi. All the facilities are free of charge.
- Iga Ueno Castle
2 days ago i went to this castle. I liked it very much, with its great walls and the artifacts on show. Kids and adults can disguise in shinobi(this is the land of the ninja) and i saw alot of little ninjas wandering. I also visited the ninjahouse in the parc. Its a nice museum(with english explanations) and you can attend a ninjashow. They demonstrate the use of some ninja-weapons, but it's only in japanese. I walked to the castle and took the train back, because some of them have ninjas painted on them.
- Ikeda Castle
What can i add to the comment of RaymondW. There is a drawing in the tower showing how the castle really looked in the Sengoku-jidai. This is a lovely park to go.
- Imabari Castle
The site of this castle is very photogenic. You are able to take very nice pictures from almost every side of the castle, walking around the very large moat. 5 years ago they have rebuild some aditional yagura and the kuroganegomon in original materials. For this i give it 4 stars(the tenshukaku is in concrete, at least inside they tried to hide it with wooden planking). The collection of armors is very impressive. At the entrance they told me that they possess the 2nd most important number of armors that a castle in Japan has. I really recommend this castle when you're in the vicinity.
- Innoshima Suigun castle
- Inuyama Castle
Went today to this castle as well as Komakijo. This one is really a must do. Very nice structures and location. If you are in the vicinity, visit this castle>
- Iwakuni Castle
Like RaymondW wrote about this castle, it deserves 3 stars because of the site, not for the castle in itself. The castle is nice from the outside but too dull in the inside. Some nice swords indeed, but only one armor. The view from it is very beautifull. You can buy a ticket at the entrance of the Kintaikyo-bridge for 930yen. It gives you access to the bridge, the use of the ropeway in both directions and the castlekeep. You receive a reduction of 100yen for the Kikkawa museum and for the museum of arts. I went to the Kikkawa museum, but there are almost only scrolls to be seen, There was only one armor and one daisho. For the 400yen, you still have to pay, i found it a little too much. The Mekata residence is interesting as is the Kikkojinja. There are also some white snakes for 100yen to see, next to the Mekata residence. I found them interesting.
- Iwasaki Castle
After Kiyosu i visited this castle. To get there i went back to Nagoyastation. Since i bought a Donichi Eco-pass i used the subways. First to Marunouchi and from there to Akaike. This is the last subway station on that line. Beware the train continues but on the Meitetsu line. From Akaikestation i took a Kurorinbasu to Ontakeguchi(=200yen). There are only 1 bus per hour to 1h and half. It takes 15min to Ontakeguchi and from there 5min walking to the castle. From the busstop you see the castle. The castlegrounds were somewhat interesting, but the interior of the castle was void of any thing interesting. The entrance is free. I liked the fact that families may put replica-armors to walk around. I saw alot of kawaii bushi LOL.
- Iyo Matsuyama Castle
This is a wonderful site to visit : alot of ishigaki and original buildings. I used the ropeway up the hill(260yen) and walked down trough the ninomaru garden. At the castle i encountered an english speaking guide who proposed me to make the visit together. He was astonished by my knowledge about japanese castle. We walked almost 3 hours on the site. I have to say that the buildings are very nice. In the taikoyagura(drumturret) you may play on the drum and on the first floor of the tenshukaku you may put on a complete armor(all the parts are present, but a little bit weared off). When i arrived there 2 japanese men were adossing the armors(there are 2 actually). I noticed to 1 of them that he had put the dou(torso) in the wrong direction. The backplate was at his front. I own a replica armor at home, in metal, which i put on on some occasions like the Japan-Expo or the kodomohi in the japanese garden in Hasselt(Belgium). I saw that they didn't know how to put the kote on. I decided to put one of the armors on. Apart from the sode(shoulderprotcections) and sashimono(backflag) i don't need help to put on an armor. I was going faster than the guy next to me who was helped by 4 friends. It was really funny and they laughed alot because they had to look at a gaijin how to put on a japanese tousei gusoku. This castle for its buildings, ishigaki and outstanding views from it mertis at large its 5 stars. If you are visiting Shikoku, surely don't miss this one.
- Kagoshima Castle
Hmmm, ah yes, there isn't alot to see here. You have everything with the photos posted. The nihon 100 meijo stamp is at the information desk of the Reimeikan(=museum on the castlegrounds. At least the museum contained some interesting artifacts. Sometimes i'm puzzled how a castle made it to the nihon 100 meijo. This one probably for its history. I went also to the observatory on the Shiroyama. The view is outstanding and Sakurajima is a must see.
- Kakegawa Castle
- Kameyama Castle
The works are done and i'll send some photos to the webmaster when back home. There is really not much to see here. If i wasn't in the vicinity, i wouldn't get at this site.
- Kaminoyama Castle
After Yamagatajô i went to this castle. The entrance is under repair, but you still can take some nice pictures of the tenshukaku. It's a nice museum inside and there are now a lot of english explanations as Kris tend to say there weren't when he visited. I confirm, there are a lot stairs ;-) This castle is only to visit if you are in the vicinity.
- Kanazawa Castle
- Karatsu Castle
This castle merits it's 3.5 stars. Like RaymondW mentionned earlier there are works goning on. Actually they have removed some part of the ishigaki of the tenshudai. I asked a friendly english speaking staffmember when the works will end. They don't know, because during the repairs they have found some original walls. Some parts of the works are halted for studying the discoveries.
- Kasugayama Castle
After Takadacastle i went to this site. Due to strong, very stong, winds the trains were delayed. I arrived at 2.30pm instead of 12.52am. Normally the ride from Takada-station to Kasugayama-station is 4min. The first building i went to was the Joetsu-shi deposit cultural assets center. Next to it is a statue of Uesugi Kenshin on his horse. Inside is a little museum(only in japanese, but free). I asked about the 100 meijo stamp and they send me to the Monogatari Holl(written like this on the map). From there i went to the Kasugajinja and the Rinsenji. I highly recommend to visit the museum of this last temple. It contains alot of artifacts : weapons, armors, scrolls... Some replica armors used in the Taiga doramas 'Fuurinkazan' and 'Tenchijin' were also on display. From there i went to the Kasugayamajinja and so on to the honmaru. I was stunned by the lot of boards explaining, in japanese and english, what stood actually there in it's heyday. I didn't expect that. The view from the honmaru is splendid. When i arrived there the wind became strong again and some menacing clouds were coming in, so i decided to take as much as pictures as i could of the panels i encountered, to read them later. I managed to get at the train-station for the train of 5.42pm. The site is really incredible. Even without buildings i give it 2.5stars, also including the shrines and the temple.
- Katsuren Castle
After Nakagusukujô i went to this castle. I went to a different busstop and i was lucky when i arrived the bus came in. I got off bus #30 at Koza and went to the busstop for bus #52. This bus stops right at the foot of Katsurenjô. The name of the busstop is Katsurenjôatomae. The site is like Nakagusukujô with some subtle differences. There are signboards all over the place with english translations and QR-codes for some extra explanations. The site has free wifi. The view from the top is outstanding, but beware of the wind. After visiting the castle i went inside the building on the parking lot. It's an informationcentre and shop. Some small artifacts are on show. There is a nice model of the castle like it was in its heyday. There is also a leaflet in english. Some parts of the castle are under reconstruction. The site is free of charge. To get back to Naha it's easy. The bus#52 goes all the way to the centre of Naha. I payed 1190¥, but I got off at the kokusaidôri. This was my last castle on Okinawa. Tomorrow i'll be elsewhere.
- Kawanoe Castle
After visiting Marugamejo, i went to this castle. It suffered alot in mine opinion due it's a concrete reconstruction and Marugame is an original. At least they tried to make it to ressemble a wooden construction, but not the staircase. The collection inside the tenshu is somewhat interesting. I actually paid nothing to access the tenshu. When i was entering the attendee told me that i had nothing to pay because i was a foreigner. There are 3 buildings on the site, namely: the tenshu, a yaguramon and a suzumeyagura. The park next to the castle was very nice with the sakura in full bloom. The site is very easy to access : exiting the JR-Kawanoe-station you will see a roofed street right before you. Take this street straight ahead untill a T-crossroads. Go left and then the first to the right and you are up to the castle.
- Kikuchi Castle
The site is a big one, with alot of strollingpaths all around, but there are only the four mentionned buildings to see. In the reception-building you will receive a leaflet in english and you can enjoy a little documentary about the history of the site.(there are english subtitles) You can take a bus bound for Kikuchi onsen(=spa, on the bus) from busstop 1, left at the east-exit of Kumamoto-station. The number on the bus is 北1 or 北3(=kita(=north) 1 or 3). I got off at the busterminal in Kikuchi center. The fee is 790yen. From there i took a taxi, but it i not that far(+/-3km) so i walked back to the busterminal. After the terminal the bus goes in the opposite direction of Kikuchicastle.
This is a very interesting site to visit. I did like the webmaster tells in the notes. They were very helpfull at the Information desk at the Okayama-station. I paid for the taxi-ride 1650yen. The entry to the site is free of fee, but for the effort of maintaining the site and reconstruction i bought the small book(500yen). Even if you don't read japanese, there are alot of interesting pictures and photos inside. There is another book(2000yen) with more indepth information, but too complicated for me. About the site itself: the reconstructed portions are very well done and this is really something different from other castles. I walked the full trail and indeed the view is marvelous. One advice : put your good walking-shoes on, some parts of the trail aren't that easy. I walked back to Hattori-station. The route is very simple : go straight ahead until you see the railroad, then turn to the left and you should see the station.
- Kishiwada Castle
I visited this castle today. It is a nice little castle. You can take pictures of it from around the outer and inner bailey, which i found really nice.
- Kitanosho Castle
After Fukuijo i visited this place(not far from each other). I really don't know what to say about this one. There is almost nothing left. Only the statue of Shibata Katsuie is nice. I give it 1 star because of the story behind this castle.
- Kitsuki Castle
The building is a simple concrete museum, but what did my day is that you are allowed to take pictures of everything inside, and there are some very interesting artifacts. The view from the tower is marvelous. When i arrived at the station i was lucky to encounter an old japanese tourist who was looking to get to the castle. When he saw he had to wait for a bus he adressed a taxi. He heard that i was looking to go to the castle and asked me to go with him. I agreed and he insisted to pay the full fee of the taxi. He spoke english and he was a great token in the castle and after that we went to the samurai residences in the vicinity. Kitsuki is known to have alot of bukeyashiki(=samurai-residences) and i confirm that the streets are interesting to visit.
- Kiyosu Castle
I went this morning to this castle. The park with the statue of Oda Nobunaga is easy to reach from the JR Kiyosustation. Outside the station turn right and follow the tracks as much as possible. Just before the red brigde leading to the castle go right under the railroadtracks and it is just on the right side. The castle itself was a little disappointing. Being such an historical important place i tought there would have been explanations in english. But nope, everything in japanese and mine is not that good. There were more apparatus of Taiga Dorama and replicas on show than really interesting artifacts. It was confusing to see some replicas and real stuff almost together.
- Kochi Castle
This is really a nice castle to visit. You have access to all the buildings in the honmaru and you may take photos of everything. The goten was in very good condition and it's nice to see one just next the tenshukaku. I gave it 4.5 stars because it can't compare to Himeji and Matsumoto, but i really recommend a visit to this castle.
- Kofu Castle
I revisted this site today. I was woried by the weather, but after a rainy morning it was very sunny and warm. I leisurely visited the site. I took more than 120 photos(i think my record on one site) and i really enjoyed the reconstructed parts. For info one of the kuroganemon of the honmaru has been reconstructed. It was finished last year. It would be nice if one day the complete castle should be reconstructed, but the railroad-tracks would be in the way.
- Kokura Castle
Nothing to add to the comment of RaymondW, apart that i liked to stroll around in the streets of Kokura. There are alot of informationpanels on the streets with a map indicating where you are and the interesting spots surrounding the spot where you are. I arrived too early this morning and the infodesk at the station was still closed, but with the afore mentionned pannels you don't need any other map.
- Komaki Castle
After Inuyama, this castle was really disapointing. No possibility to make nice pictures, and not alot to see inside the castle. Nothing in English. Consolation : entryfee is 100yen. I wanted to see both sides of the Komaki\Nagakute Campaign, but i won't recommend visiting this castle.
- Komoro Castle
- Kubota Castle
After visiting the Jomon/Yayoi settlement, by name Jizoden Yoyoikko, i went to this castle. There isn't alot to see here. The guardhouse was interesting but i was dissapointed by the Osumiyagura. There is only a model of the castle in its heyday and the view from the top floor. 100¥ isn't a lot of money too. I visited also the Satake historical museum. Entry fee also 100¥. This was really rewarding. There are numerous artifacts such as armors, jinbaori(=jacket worn over the armor) and hata(=flags). The castle-site is a beautiful garden and somehow this is also a problem. The trees hide a lot of the embankments.
- Kumamoto Castle
This is really a fabulous caslte to visit. I spent the whole day at the site. I didn't had enough with 1 pair of eyes to look at everything. Nevertheless i give it only 4.5 stars because of that little, very little black spot that is the concrete tenshukaku.
- Marugame Castle
Did 2 castles today. This one and Kawanoejo. This castle is easy to access from the JR-Marugame-station. I walked around the outer bailey before entering. It's a vast terrain. When i passed the Ote Ichinomon gate i went to the information desk. I got a little leaflet and a double coupon. 1 coupon halves the price of the entrance to the tenshu (200yen->100yen) The other gives 30% off the entrance to Nakazu Banshoen(=garden) (1000yen->700yen). The way up to the tenshu is very steep. The sakura in the ninomaru were loosing their petals. There were still alot with flowers. This gave a nice pink blanket. The tenshu is very small, containing some artifacts. The museum in the outer bailey is free to go. It has not alot to show, but some of the kabuto i saw were really unusual. For ishigaki-lovers, this is a place to go, these are really impressive.
- Maruoka Castle
Today i went to this castle. Because of the beautiful weather i decided to walk from Maruoka-station(=+/4.5km). This is a neat castle to visit because it's Japan's oldest authentic keep. There is nothing displayed in the tenshu, but the structure alone is worth the visit. With the ticket for the castle you have access to the little museum beneath the keep. There are some realy interesting artifacts on display, like a piece of an uma-yoroi (=horse-armor).
- Matsue Castle
This castle is certainly deserving its 5 stars. Like the webmaster told in his notes the pictures of this castle don't make it justice. I didn't believed my eyes when i saw this very big keep and its interior. The artifacts on show on the 2nd floor are plenty and wonderful. I visited the bukeyashiki after it. You can take a leaflet at the information facility just outside the station whereupon are the facilities you get a percentage off the entrance-fee when you are a foreigner. Most of the time the price is halved, by others you get 30% off the fee.
- Matsumae Castle
This morning i went to this castle. From Hakodate to Kikonai with the train and then with the bus to Matsumae. For the train i have the JR-PASS and one way drive with the bus is 1250¥. The honmaru gomon and the reconstructed gates are nice but the tenshukaku being in concrete is a let down. I went to several other sites in the city. I'm certain that the place must be very beautiful with the sakura in full bloom. There are some very special specimens in the castle park.
- Matsumoto Castle
Revisited this very beautiful site today. For me still the most beautiful castle of Japan. The works at the red bridge and at the eastern side of the honmaru are still being done. Otherwise the buildings are accessible. I made a tour with a english speaking guide. There were alot at the site and were really willing to make a tour. I had a great time with him and we learned some stuff from each other. My guide and the others were astonished by my knowledge of their history. They asked me if i could stay longer and be a guide for french- and dutch-speaking visitors, LOL. I asked about the goten. The city want to rebuild it, but like it was. On that purpose they asked people to provide them with photos and/or plans of the goten during the Edo-period. Unfortunately untill now nobody showed up.
- Matsusaka Castle
Went today to this site. There are alot of ishigaki, but because the site is a park, big parts are obstructed by trees all around the place. Nevertheless interesting to visit. The History and folklore museum was closed, i suppose because it was after a holiday. I managed to collect the 100 meijo stamp at the other museum on the castlegrounds.
- Matsushiro Castle
- Minowa Castle
I went this morning to this castle, after getting the very useful map at the Visitor information office in Takasaki station. At busstop #2 in front of West-exit of the station i took a bus bound for Misato. The lady at the Visitor office, told me to get off at Misatomotomachi. I saw in my book for collecting the 100meijo stamp that it was better to get off one stop earlier, Tamachi (Misato Tamachi, there is also one at Takasaki). The stamp is at the mayorhouse not so far from this busstop. The busride was 510yen. From the mayorhouse to the castle it's about 2 km. I entered at the shiroyama iriguchi to stroll around the trails. The horikiri are really impressive. I can easily imagine that attacking such a castle must have been difficult. The works are going on for the gates and bridges. I saw some piles of sand, stones and gravel next to the ni-no-maru. Interesting place to visit if you are in the vicinity.
- Morioka Castle
Been to this site in the morning rain. I don't have a lot to add at the other comments. It's easy to reach. I discovered that the museum is closed on every 3rd tuesday of the month, but you still can obtain the 100 meijô stamp at the Plaza Odette building a little bit further from the museum.
- Nagahama Castle
This castle is beautiful and the artifacts on show are interesting. The view from the upper floor is amazing. You have a clear view on Biwa-lake.
- Nagashino Castle
Today was the Nagashino kassen nobori matsuri. I thougt it would be cancelled due to the bad weather of today, but it still took place. First i visited the Shitaragahara historical museum and the fence against the cavalry. You get of at Mikawatogo-station and from there it's abaout 1.3km. The museum has alot of teppou(=matchlock guns) on display and other artifacts. You may take photos of almost everything unless otherly stated. The entrance fee is 400 for this museum combined with the Nagashinojou-museum. The Nagashinojou-station is 3 stations away. When i arrived at the castle site there were some teppoutai firing their guns. I took some photos and filmed some sequences. I really didn't tought they should fire their guns with the awfull weather. The museum has nice artifacts on show and almost every text is translated in english. Of the castle site was really not alot to see, because some of the parts were used, and thus offlimits, for the gunners to put on their armors. I give 2 stars not for the Nagashinojou alone, but for the sites combined.
- Nagoya Castle
I'm back in Japan for a new castle-tour. I arrived today and visited, for the second time, this castle. I wanted to visit the reconstruction of the goten(=palace) during the process. It is really worth to go. You may also see the construction from above of the 2 not yet completed parts. The second part is scheduled for 2016 and the last one for 2018. There are other parts of the castle being restored, but this shouldn't retain you of going. The Nogi storehouse and the northwest corner tower were open to public. Because it's the Golden Week, i thougt there'll be a lot of people, but nope, the grounds were really enjoyable. A last thing : when you buy a day-ticket for the subway or during the weekend a donichi eco-ticket, and you show it at the entrance, you get 100yen reduction.
- Nakagusuku Castle
To answer your question Eric, yes i visited today 2 other Okinawan castles. Nakagusukujô was first. Since the bus terminal is almost closed i took the bus #30 in front of the Ryubo department store. I told the busdriver where i was heading and he stopped at the busstop at 2 km from the site. The fee is 750¥. The site is nicely maintained and is bigger than I thought. At the admission counter you receive a leaflet in english and the indication panels are translated. Like all okinawan castles it is completely different from japanese ones, being built during the Ryukyu period.
- Nakamura Castle
- Nakatsu Castle
For a concrete reconstruction, it's a nice one. It's not too far from the station. There are alot of interesting artifacts on show and you're allowed to take pictures. One of the doors of the castle, outside the actual castle-grounds, is used as one of the entrances of a school. The ishigaki of the Otemon are still present, but engulfed by modern buildings. You see that the people of Nakatsu is pleased by the choice of the next Taiga dorama personnage, namely Kuroda Kanbei. You see flags and other stuff everywhere about it.
- Ne Castle
I completely agree with the webmaster's notes. This is a very interesting site to visit. Exiting from the east exit of Hachinohe station, take the bus P8 at busstop #1, get off at Nejô busstop. Before arriving there you'll see the castle-site to your left. The ride costs 200¥. The entrance fee for the museum, which i also recommend, and the castle is 400¥. I had a chat with a guide at the honmaru. He told me several interesting things and he showed me a gingko tree which was 700 years old. It was there when the castle was build. The guide and other persons in the area liked my t-shirt. I wore one with the fūrinkazan on it. Apparently the Nanbu are related to the Takeda. One of their kamon is the yonbishi. The Nanbu moved from Kai province some time before the building of Nejô. The bus to Hachinohe station is the 60 or 63. There are several other busses passing at the Nejô busstop, but they don't go to this station.
- Nihonmatsu Castle
After Shirakawajô i went to this one. What can I say more than the other comments? The hike to the site from the station is pleasant. The site itself is vast. There are a lot of trails, roads, paths and stairs all over the place. Like already stated below, a lot of explanation boards, with english translations, really thumbs up, are present. I think i didn't saw them all, because of the maze of trails. The view from the tenshukakudai, which is completely repaired, is astonishing. I met my first japanese snake on the site. I first thought it was a big twig, about 80cm long, on the stair, but when I got my foot over it, it spurred into the grass. I asked a passerby if these are dangerous, but apparently they aren't. 'No poison' he told me.
- Nijo Castle
I visited this wonderful site again today. The great eastern gate is now being restored and completely under scaffolds. It remains the entrance to the castle. The exhibition hall was also closed, but we enjoyed the visit of the palace. I got my 100 meijô stamp under a tent to the right after entering the castle grounds.
- Nishio Castle
After Okazaki, i went to this castle. The Ushitorayagura and museum were open and it's free. I could also take photos of everything in the museum which contains some nice armors and other artifacts. The reconstructed gate is very well done. I don't see any images or commentary of the reconstructed tenshukakudai. This has a very newish look and apparently they are still making work on the west side of it. I give it only 2.5 stars because there is no tenshu, but don't hesitate to visit. It will be nice to see some other parts reconstructed.
- Obi Castle
Obi city is a nice place to visit. For 600yen you have access to 7 buildings in the area of the castle. When the lady who sold me the ticket asked me if i came with a train, i showed her my JR-Pass. She deduced 100yen from the fee, because i came with the train. The grounds of the castle are interesting and the museum on the castleground have very nice artifacts. The Matsu no maru contains a very nice reconstructed nobleman's residence. If you have time try to spend certainly half a day in this little city.
- Odawara Castle
On my way from Nagoya to Tokyo, i revisited this castle. Actually the first time, i was in a group and they weren't interested in Japanese castles. We saw the castle from the outside and didn't went inside. This time i did it properly and i am happy to have done so. The reconstructed parts are worth the visit and even if this castle has a concrete tenshu the artifacts inside it are very interesting. I bought a book of the armor and helmets collection of the castle. It is only in japanese but for every piece described you have 4 to 5 photos. I can read hiragana and all the pieces have the hurigana(=small hiragana next to kanji(=chinese characters)) for their description. There is also a book about the excavations, which are still going on, and the reconstructions. It is only in japanese too and too complicated for me, so i didn't bought this one. For 300 yen you may put a fake armor to take pictures on the castle grounds. I really recommend to visit this site when you are in the vicinity.
- Ogaki Castle
Today i made a triple. Ogaki, Hikone and Nagahamacastles. I knew, using this site, that this castle was under repair. Still i went there because it was on my way to Hikone. The tenshu is completely under the scaffolds. I won7t give stars for now, but i think i'll give only 2, because the site and the artifacts on show aren't pleasing.
- Okayama Castle
I went back to this castle today. I think i appreciated it more now than the first time. It was my first concrete castle i visited inside and i learned alot about these reconstructions. There is now a special exibit going on for the springtime. There are some nice armors and weapons which aren't there normally. It is really worth the visit, so if you are in the vicinity, go for it.
- Okazaki Castle
Today i visited 4 sites, of which one isn't yet on this site. I began with this one. The park is beautiful but sadly they didn't try to cover the concrete in the tenshu. The artifacts are very interesting, but as already stated you may not take pictures inside. The Ieyasu and Mikawa bushi museum retraces the life of Ieyasu. The important phases of his life are translated in english, but everything else is in japanese. There is a nice recreation model of the battle of Sekigahara. To the exit you are able to put an armor on with the helmet of Honda Tadakatsu. It takes no time, because the staff put it on you and it's free of charge. If you are in the vicinity, i recommend to go to this site.
- Osaka Castle
This is really a nice castle to visit, even if it's in concrete. The site is beautiful and the collection inside the castle is worth a visit. If you visit the city for 1 or 2 days i recommend to buy a 1 or 2 day unlimited pass at an information center. It give access to several buildings and the Osaka subway. If you visit the Museum of history you can take a nice view of the castle from the 10th or 9th floor.
- Ozu Castle
Went this morning to this castle. It's a nice reconstructed one. It's easy to access from the JR-station. Just turn right on the exit and follow the small green flower-shaped indication-panels. The castle is about 2km. When you leave the station and go for Uwajima, you are able to take a nice picture of the castle.
- Saga Castle
I give it 3 stars because of the wonderful information you get with the free audioguide and the panels around the palace. I was struck that the reconstruction is actually 80cm above the real site. In one section of the palace you can see the old base-stones. To protect these they have put some earth on them and then they have put new base-stones right above the old ones to build the new buildings. In the doors of the Shachinomon you can see some bulletholes from the fightings during the Boshin-war. This is really a nice site to visit. I recommend it.
- Sakasai Castle
- Sendai Castle
I went to this site today. The works are apparently done, because i didn't saw any. I took the Loople Sendai bus with a 1-day pass. With the pass you have some reductions at some sites. I visited first the Zuihoden mauseleum. After that i went directly to the castle. The route of the loople bus changed a little bit, but it still has a stop at the honmaru, but at the foot of the ishigaki. There is indeed not a lot to see, appart from the statue of Date Masamune. The Aoba-castle museum was open, but there isn't a lot to see. The fee is normally 700¥, but with the pass it's 500¥. You may take photos, but without flash. Then i went to the Sendai City museum. This museum was more interesting i found, with a lot of english explanations. Then i walked to the Waki-yagura. I realised that i missed the last loople bus and went to a city busstop. When the bus arrived, it was full. I walked to the station. It's about 3 km from the castle-site. My hotel is in the vicinity of the station.
- Shibata Castle
This morning i went first to Nakajô to see the Egami yakata. Some structures have been rebuilt there and there are moats and embankments. It was used at the end of the Heian period and beginning of the Kamakura period. After that i went to Shibata, it's only one station back with the Inaho ltd. express. I visited first the ashigaru nagaya. Very interesting building. When i was already inside, a lady came to me and told me that i had to come to the Shimizu garden first to pay a ticket. She friendly let me finish the visit of the nagaya before i went to the garden. The fee of 800¥ includes the garden, the nagaya and the Bukeyashiki. The garden is very beautiful and at the end there is a storehouse with numerous artifacts( at least 7 armors). After that i went to te Shirakabe Heisha. It was built in 1874 and houses a museum about the japanese army from the Meiji period until the actual Self Defense Force. In it's heyday it was used as barracks. The building is still part of the SDF. The castle is just next to it. The entrance is free and i received a leaflet in english containing a lot of information. I could enter the 3 structures which aren't on the SDF grounds. These are the Omote-mon, the Sumi-yagura and the Tatsumi-yagura. In the Tatsumi-yagura the staff-member was eagerly giving information about the structure of the towers. If you are in the vicinity, i highly recommend a visit to this city.
- Shimabara Castle
I agree with the statements below. The parking lot annoyed me much. The museum contains some nice arrtifacts. At the entrance a ninja and a samurai where present. You may put on a kabuto(=helmet) and the upper part of a tosei gusoku(='modern' armor) for free. The price with this included is not too high, because sometimes you have to pay to put on an armor.
- Shinagawa Battery Islands
I went to Ôdaiba today and visited this site in the morning. It's easily accessible like written by the webmaster. I went also on the rainbow bridge to take some photos. It's a nice little park, but there isn't a lot to see. After that i went to several facilities on Ôdaiba. It's interesting to note that from the observation deck of the Fuji television building you can take nice pictures of the batteries. Also when you go to the downward elevators you'll encounter some nice devices They look as little televisions. You can direct them to the batteries and actually they show you the batteries during the Edo period. All of them are present and you can zoom to see some details. The entrance fee to the observatory deck is 550¥.
- Shirakawa Castle
Went this morning to this castle. Getting to it is not difficult. Just go left after leaving the station. Go through the tunnel underneath the railroad. In the tunnel there are some photos of the site after the earthquakes of 2011 and of repairs already done. I first went around the site, but the big trees around the castle obstruct almost all of the ishigaki. Some roads are closed due to the repairs. Then i went inside the tower. Yes it's open and free of charge. The structure is really nice. There are still works going on the ishigaki.
- Shiratori Castle
- Shiroishi Castle
I really don't understand the comment of Craig. Sorry for you if you are unable to hold a ticket for +/-200m. And if it's a tourist trap, then almost all japanese castles are. The comment of Frank is right. The reconstructed buildings have been done like it should be, in wood. The masugata entrance is really something weird. I never saw one like that before. The entrance to the castle is 300¥, but i also visited the bukeyashiki and the museum. The fee for the bukeyashiki is 200¥ and the museum is free. There is a little 3d film on an event of Date Masamune's life(only in japanese) on the 3rd floor for 300¥. It's +/-25min long. You are able to buy a combination ticket for the 3 for 600¥. To find the places is not difficult. There are tiles on the sidewalk and signboards everywhere.
- Shiwa Castle
Since i ended visiting Moriokajô earlier than expected, i went to the informationdesk in Morioka station to get information to go to Shiwajô with the bus. She told me to take a bus for Motomiya at busstop 13 in front of the station. When i arrived at the busstop there was bus 502. This bus is bound for the castle-site. But beware there are only 2 busses in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. The bus ride is 410¥ and stops really on the site. When i got off i immediately went to the welcome panel to take a picture of it and of the reconstructed gate. When i turned around for the information office, a staff-member ran to me just to say that the site is free of charge and she had prepared a leaflet in english for me. In the information office are some artifacts on show and the lady started a video (15min) just for me. I bought the very small booklet for 200¥ about the castle. It's only in japanese but it contains nice drawings and photos. Then i went to the castle. The reconstructed buildings are very interesting. It is a little bit weird, because there are grain- and ricefields on the original place of the castle. I enjoyed this site, even in a muddy circumstance. It didn't rained during my visit, but the ground was soaked. When i returned to the busstop i realised i had to wait about 3.5hours for the next bus. I walked to the Iioka-jumonji stop but saw the bus passing in front of me. The next one would be 1 hour later. I decided to walk to my hotel (right in front of the Morioka station). It's about 5 km. I absolutely recommend this castle.
- Shoryuji Castle
Today i went to this castle. It's a nice little parc actually and there is a little exhibition on the second floor of the only building. These are objects found during the excavation works. I give it 2 stars because outside the castle they have put a panel, in english, explaining the importance of the city during the ages and a little history of the castle.
- Shuri Castle
Guess who is back in Japan? For my 100th castle visit in Japan, i wanted something special. I thaugt Shurijo would be perfect for that. It's easy to access with the Yui monorail, getting off at Shuristation. The reconstructed buildings are very interesting. Reconstruction is still going on behind the Seiden, on the eastern part of the castle. This year i bought the book for collecting the 100 meijô stamps. Coincidentally number 100 is Shurijô. I really recommend visiting this castle.
- Sunpu Castle
- Taga Castle
This morning i visited first the Tôhoku history museum, which is on the opposite side of the station than the castle-site. It's a decent museum. I thought i'll found the 100 meijô stamp there, but the ladies told me it was at the station. Indeed when you exit the station to the castle-site, it's just there to use. I went to the informationoffice and the guy there was really helpful for explaining the route to the castle. Actually i didn't expect a lot of this site because there are no buildings. But i really enjoyed the explanation-panels all around the place. Everything, or almost, is translated in english. I went everywhere, even to the ruins of the northern wall, which is in the woods. There is a trail to it. Actually they do there best to make the place enjoyable. Some men were cutting the grass in the northern part. The grass was already cut at the Seicho. You have to know that this is a very vast site. The existing ruins are scattered all over the place. On the explanation-panels there are photos of the excavations and drawings of the buildings in their heyday. If you are in Sendai it's only 13min on the Tôhoku line to Kokufu-Tagajô station. Normally i should give it only 1 star, but because of the explanations i give it 0.5 more.
- Takada Castle
I visited this castle this morning. Apart from the reconstructed tower, there is not much to see. Around the grounds were big panels in japanese and english explaining some parts of the castle. The museum in the castle is small and everything is in japanese. There is only one armor. The park around the castle is lovely and vast in japanese standards. I really enjoyed walking around.
- Takamatsu Castle
I totally agree with the notes provided by Raymond. It is a very nice place to be. For info the building standing on the tenshu-ishigaki(photo 3 on this site) is completely gone. The works are going well and i hope to see in the future this castle again with it's tenshukaku. The tsukimiyagura and mizutegomon were build many years after the watariyagura. The seawater came to this last turret in the first configuration of the castle.
- Takane Castle
This is a site like i love them. Real sengokujidai stuff. It is really a nice reconstruction and being a Takeda Shingen-fan, i couldn't let it on the side. Going from Mukaichiba-station to the site is very easy. It's only 1km, but as it is a mountaintop castle, it's almost a continuing climb. For the ones looking for big keeps, don't go. For the ones looking for effective 'in battle-used castles', go go go.
- Takaoka Castle
What to add to the commentaries of the webmaster, hum, ah yes the 100 meijo stamp is in the municipal museum on the castlegrounds.
- Takasaki Castle
After Minowajo, i had time left before going to Tokyo. So i visited these structures. RaymondW and the Webmaster said everything about this site. Because the buildings are original i give it 1.5 stars. This was my last castle visit in Japan for this year. Tomorrow i return home.
- Takashima Castle
- Tobiyama Castle
This morning i visited this site. Apparently there are only 3 busses heading to the Takeshita-busstop and all in the afternoon. The inforamtion desk in the station told me to take a bus heading for Mashiko at busstop 14 in front of the station. I had to get off at Koteyama-busstop. I arrived early at the busterminal and a staff-member told me to take a bus for Moka, also passing at Koteyama. From Koteyama-busstop it's about 2 km to the castle-site. I arrived just 5 minutes before the opening of the museum. A lady saw me, and she immediately opened the doors. The museum is small but has nice models of the castle and some artifacts. The site is very different from other castles. The reconstructed buildings are thought to have been used as lodgings and barracks for the soldiers. The site is free of charge, but since the staff was very friendly i tried to put on a yoroi (=armor). It's 300¥. I found it heavy, being made of plastic. Personally i have 2 replica armors in iron. The weight was comparable.
- Tojo Castle
- Tottori Castle
Normally i don't visit castlesites where there aren't buildings remaining or reconstructed, but since i was at Tottori to visit the Watanabe Art Museum, i did make a visit to this one. The weather was outstanding to go to the honmaru and so i did. The trail to the top is very small and steep, so Raymond you did well. I wouldn't have tried myself if it was raining. The ishigaki are nice and there are some portions still being reconstructed. The view from the honmaru is incredible. You even see the so famous sanddunes of Tottori. The museum i visited contains alot of armors and weapons, but also ceramics, statues and more everyday stuff, even from other countries.
- Toyama Castle
Went today to this castle as well as 2 other sites which are not on this site yet. The castle-museum has alot about the history of the castle. At the entrance i received a book containing the explanation in english. You need to give it back at the end of your visit. Apart from some lettres their are not much artifacts on show. The only armor piece is the helmet of Maeda Toshinaga. It's the original. It is a very tall nagaeboshi kabuto (=lit. long courtier's cap helmet), and when i say tall, it's 1.40m. The entrance fee to the museum is 210yen. The 2 other sites i visited are castleruins. They are Yasudajou-ato and Shiratorijou-ato. It is really easy to do the 3 sites on 1 day. I'll give the info to the webmaster as soon as possible.
- Tsu Castle
After Matsusaka-castle, i went to this one. It's about 2km from Tsu-station. I have nothing else to add than the commentary below, just that trees are again blocking some views of the ishigaki. The site is a beautiful park.
- Tsutsujigasaki Palace
Still being a Takeda-fan, after visiting Kofujo, i went again to this site. There are still digging being done, but some parts on the east of the shrine have panels and some reconstucted ishigaki where a gate stood, as well as an indication where a stable stood. After visiting the shrine and the museum i lost my way in the little shop, where i bought alot of stuff, lol.
- Tsuyama Castle
I went today to this castle like i said some days earlier. Sadly it was raining this morning and like i thought the sakura were to their end. There were some still blooming. There are alot of maples too, so it must be nice during the momiji. Apart from trees, the ishigaki are very well preserved and the bitchu-yagura was so interesting. It's the first time i've seen a goten inside such a turret. Are there others known? One minus point is that nothing is translated. You can have a page of explanations in the turret in english, but that's it. I still give 2.5 stars because of the reconstructed turret. It gives you such a feeling that you could living there right on the spot!
- Ueda Castle
- Usuki Castle
I didn't expected alot of this site, but i was surprized to see alot of informationpanels around the site, even in english. It's a nice little park to go to and it isn't far from the station. There is another reconstructed tower, the Utonoguchi-mon-wakiyagura. This is at the other end of the castle-grounds than the other reconstructed towers. I'll send photos of it when i'll be back at home. This is a site to visit when you're in the area.
- Utsunomiya Castle
Today i visited this little site. It's something of a mix. The 2 reconstructed towers are in wood, like it should be. The embankment is in concrete. That on itself isn't a problem, but the tunnel is. To add to Kris' comment, the guide in the tunnel gave me an A4 page about the castle's history, in english. In the tunnel are 2 models. One of the honmaru with all its buildings, the other is of the city, both of the Edo-period.
- Uwajima Castle
After Ozu-jo i visited this one in the afternoon. Being one of the originals it is an interesting keep to go for. It's easy accessible, even when it rains. You can walk a fair distance under the shopping arcades. At the information point in the station they'll gladly indicate you the way to go. The keep is very small compared to others, but the inside structure is worth the visit.
- Wakayama Castle
I visited this castle today and thereafter i went to Kishiwada. The grounds of this one are beautiful. You may visit the garden for free and this is really rewarding. Actually the outer walls of the tenshu are in renovation(scaffolds), which mean you cannot take the picture which appears when you look at this castle on this site. Still you can take some nice pictures from lower baileys because trees are hiding the scaffolds. The top of the tenshu is still visible. The collection in the castle is really worthfull, but the castle is a concrete one.
- Yamagata Castle
When i arrived at the Yamagata station this morning, i went to the informationdesk. The lady was very helpful and she asked if i came with a JR-pass. After sawing it, she gave me 2 postcards as present. I then went to the castle. The reconstructed gates are very nicely done, being in wood. There aren't a lot of other buildings or ishigaki, but excavations are still done. There are no explanations in english. After the castle i went to the Mogami Yoshiaki historical museum. It's free to enter. The staffmembers were very friendly. They spoke their best english. Since i'm a foreigner i received a booklet in english about the exhibition and a book which is the translation in english of the Mogami chronicles. During the visit of the museum a staff-member went with me and gave some explanation of the artifacts.
- Yamato Koriyama Castle
I got to this castle today. There is not a lot to see apart from the 2 yagura and the gate. The walls of the baileys are covered with brush and trees. I encountered a group making a film. They took a picture of me surrounded by a samurai and a shinobi. I would not go to this castle if i was not in Nara for 2 days(4min with the local train).
- Yashima Castle
I visited the site of this castle in april 2012. I gave some info on the page of Kinojô. In that year there was still nothing rebuilt of the castle. So it is nice they have reconstructed the stone base of a gate. When i visited Yashima i went first to the Yashimajinja and then to the Shikoku-mura. Both are at the foot of the hill. Shikoku-mura is a village-museum where several old buildings of Shikoku were regrouped. It was very interesting. After that i went to the top of the hill with a bus and visited Yashimaji. I did a tour of the plateau and saw some excavations about the castle. But there was no info of it.
- Yasuda Castle
- Yatsushiro Castle
On my way back from Hitoyoshi i stopped here. It is on the same trainline and the site isn't that far from the station(2km). Ther are only the ishigaki left but the park inside and the Yatsushiro shrine are very beautiful. That said i wouldn't have gone to this site if it wasn't on my way.
- Yoshida Castle
It's indeed a nice little castle to go for. Sadly the tower wawsn't open. From a sign on the door i could say that it was open during the 4-day golden weekend and apparently on the next sundays until end of june, hours from 10 to 15.
I 'only' give 4.5 stars, because it's not really a castle. I arrived late at the site (3:15pm, it closes at 5pm from apr 1-may 31 and sep 1-mar 31, it closes at 6pm from jun 1-aug 31). I had to walk fast because it's so vast. I eventually managed to see the whole site. It is a very impressive site and the explanations are interesting. When i arrived the rain began to fall and i took refuge in the exhibition room. I recommend to visit this room. Inside are some artifacts and at the information desk i received an english 29pages book about the site. Since it was still raining when i decided to exit this building, the staff kindly gave me an umbrella. They told me that the nihon 100 meijo stamp was at the east-entrance (i actually forgot to ask it when i bought my ticket). I don't know if there is a stamp at the west-entrance. I was actually lucky because the rain stopped during the rest of my visit. At the southern enclosure i met an english speaking guide who gave me nice information, but she couldn't tell me why the palissade is on the outer side of the moat(very strange) She could tell me that during the excavations they have found some stakes on the outer side, but why this was so.....??? Perhaps there is an explanation in the book i received. If this had been a castle, i would've given it 5 stars. This site is really a must-go, but plan well, because you'll need time to visit it.
- Yuzuki Castle