Did you know that there are many castles in the Seto Inland Sea area? It’s great to go on a castle tour! Here are our favorites!
1. Himeji Castle
The castle’s white appearance is due to a plastering method called “Shiro Shikkui Sōnurikomezukuri”, which was used to prevent the spread of fire in the event of a firearms attack. And because it looks like a white egret spreading its wings in the sky, Himeji Castle is also known as “Hakurojō (White Egret Castle).
Some local residents who were used to to seeing the dingy grey Tenshukaku complain that it is now “too white a castle”!
However, as the whiteness will only last a few years, now is the time to see the pure white egret castle!!
Here is an English article dedicated to Hakurojō:
2. Okayama Castle
As it bathes in sunlight, the black lacquered exterior of Okayama Castle is almost the jet black of a crow, which is why it’s also called “U-jo” (Crow Castle).
Currently, only gilded fish-shaped gargoyles accent the exterior, but originally the roof-tiles were also gilded, which led to it being known as ‘golden crow castle’ at the time.
Okayama castle is filled with fun!
You can even experience how it feels to wear the kimono worn by lords and princesses free of charge!
Apparently there is also a “Castle parfait” on offer…
Even if you’re not a castle enthusiast, it’s a fun spot that can be enjoyed by anyone!
Here’s a dedicated link in English:
3. Iwakuni Castle
Reconstructed in 1962, Iwakuni Castle is counted among Japan’s top 100.
Iwakuni castle is also a great viewing spot with views over one of Japan’s three most famous bridges, Kintai Bridge!
We recommend visiting in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!
English link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/543
4. Ozu Castle
The remains of Ozu Castle are located in Ozu city in the southwestern part of Ehime prefecture. Using Edo period construction methods for the first time since the war, the wooden castle tower has been faithfully restored.
The charm of Ozu castle lays in being able to tour both the new and old buildings. Built during the Edo period, the two yagura are original to the castle. The ‘new castle’ from the Heisei era is a building that was reconstructed to be as close to the original as possible using Edo period construction methods.
It’s rare to be able to experience the charm of both an old and a new castle at the same time in Japan!
Although a lot of castles still remain all over the country, many have not been restored faithfully…
However, as plenty of materials had been left behind, Ozu Castle could be faithfully restored to its original Ero period appearance, which makes it truly precious!
English link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/434
5. Matsuyama Castle
One of Japan’s 12 surviving castle keeps that were constructed before the Edo period, Matsuyama Castle is situated right in the center of Matsuyama city.
Matsuyama castle stands atop Mt. Katsuyama, which is 132 meters above sea level. You can either ride the ropeway and lift to the mountaintop, or climb up the trail from its base.
Not only is Matsuyama castle one of Japan’s 12 surviving castles with keeps that were constructed before the Edo period, it’s also famous for being the castle that most closely retains its original form.
Why has it retained its form so beautifully? Find the answer here! You can also discover why the keep was impregnable!
English link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/438
6. Kawanoe Castle
This is a scene from the cherry blossom season!!
The Shiroyama Park Sakura Festival is held every spring. During this period the sakura are lit up and the park is bustling with events, tea parties and live concerts, etc.
When you pass through the gate, you enter a space that is built in a way that invading enemies could be attacked from four sides with bows and arrows and guns.
We definitely recommend visiting during the cherry blossom season… How about some flower viewing at the castle? Also remember to check out the events.
English link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/399
What do you think?
Looking at them and comparing them like this, even though they are all castles, each is unique and beautiful and each has a face that can be seen only at certain times, or that changes according to the season.
There are also plenty of events, etc. held regularly at each location!
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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