Best Castles in Japan to Visit

When discussing Japan’s history, climate, and environment, the popular and breathtakingly beautiful castles will never be missed out.

In this article, I’ve listed the top 15 castles to visit in Japan in terms of their popularity (from top 1 to top 15).

Let’s get started and be sure to never miss out on visiting some of these castles if you are planning a vacation to Japan!

Top 15 Castles in Japan to Visit

Himeji Castle

Location: 68 Honmachi, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0012

Also known as: Shirasagi Castle Built by Sadanori Akamatsu

Built in: 1346 (Southern Court: Shohei 1, Northern Court: Sadawa 2)

Castle abandoned: 1871 (Meiji 4)

Main lords of the castle: Mr. Kodera, Mr. Kuroda, Mr. Ikeda, Mr. Honda, Mr. Matsudaira, Mr. Sakakibara, and Mr. Sakai

In Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, is where you can find Himeji Castle. The principal structures, including the castle, are still standing and are recognized as national treasures and significant cultural assets.

The main enclosure and inner moat are also recognized as a national special historic monument under the name “Himeji Castle Ruins.” Being one of the top 100 castles in Japan, it is also included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most well-known castle in the country.

Hikone Castle

Location: 1-1 Kinkicho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture

Also known as: Kinki Castle

Built by: Naotsugu Ii Castle

Built in: 1622 (Genna 8) 

Main castle owner: Mr. Ii Abandoned : 1874 (Meiji 7) 

Hikone Castle (Hikone Jo), a castle that once served as the Hikone Domain’s administrative center during the Edo era, is located in Hikone, Inukami County, Omi Province (now Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture).

National treasures include the keep, Tsukuyagura, and Tamonyagura.

Matsumoto Castle

Location: 4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture 390-0873

Also known as: Fukashi Castle, Ujo (common name)

Opened: 1504 Year

Built in: 1504

Built by: Sadatomo Ogasawara, Kazumasa Ishikawa Yasunaga and his son

Main castle owners: Yamakawa, Ishikawa, Matsudaira, Hotta, Mizuno, Matsudaira (Toda)

Before it was known as Matsumoto Castle, it was a castle in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture referred to as Fukashi Castle. The castle ruins are recognized as a national historic site, and the castle tower is one of the five castles that have been declared as national treasures.

The castle tower was erected between the end of the Azuchi-Momoyama era and the beginning of the Edo period. With its sturdiness and jet black appearance, it has become well-known as a national treasure castle.

Gifu Castle

Location: 18, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture 500-0000

Also known as: Inabayama Castle, Kinkayama Castle, Iguchi

Castle built by: Nikaido Seiji Castle

Built in: 1201

Main repairer: Oda Nobunaga

Main castle owner: Mr. Saito , Oda clan

Abandoned castle year: 1600 (Keicho 5)

Originally known as Inabayama Castle, Gifu Castle is a fortress situated in the highlands of Inokuchi, Mino Province. It is thought that Dosan Saito constructed it during the Sengoku era, and Nobunaga Oda shifted his stronghold from Mount Komaki to this castle after defeating Tatsuoki Saito in the Battle of Inabayama Castle in 1567.

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Gifu Castle was completely rebuilt after the area was destroyed. It is renowned as the basis from which Nobunaga Oda built the castle town while attempting to unite the entire nation. The hypothesis that “Is Gifu Castle the oldest castle tower in Japan?” has gained popular. ”

Inuyama Castle

Location: 65-2 Inuyama Kitakoken, Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture 484-0082

Also known as: Hakutei

Castle built by: Nobuyasu Oda

Opened: 1469 Year

Built in: 1537

Main lords: Oda and Toyotomi , Mr. Ishikawa, Mr. Hiraiwa, Mr. Naruse

On the boundary between the provinces of Owari and Mino, at “Inuyama,” on the south bank of the Kiso River, stood the fortress known as Inuyama Castle. It is one of the 12 Edo-era castle towers still standing.

The castle remains are also listed as a national historic site under the name “Inuyama Castle Ruins,” and the castle tower is one of the five castles recognized as national treasures. It is sometimes said to as Japan’s final privately held castle (privately owned until 2004).

Hirosaki Castle

Location: 1, Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture

Built by: Tamenobu Tsugaru, Nobuhira

Castle year built: 1611

Main lords of the castle: Tsugaru clan

Abandoned: 1871

Hirosaki Castle, also known as Takaoka Castle or Takaoka Castle, is situated in the Hanawa District in Mutsu Province. The castle remains are recognized as a national historic site, and the castle tower and turret from the Edo era are still standing and listed as national significant cultural items.

Hirosaki Castle is described as “one of the Seven Great Castles of Japan” by novelist Ryotaro Shiba in his book of travel essays, Kaido wo Yuku – Northern Mahoroba.

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

Location: 1 Yamashita, Takahashi City, Okayama Prefecture 716-0004

Also known as: Takahashi Castle

Castle owner: Akiba Saburo Shigenobu

Opened: 1240

Main castle owners: Mr. Mimura, Mr. Mizutani, Mr. Itakura

Okayama Prefecture is home to Matsuyama Castle.

One of the 12 remaining castle towers and one of the 100 castles in Japan, the castle (mountain castle) in Yamashita, Takahashi City, is the only mountain castle among the other 99 castles.

There were several conflicts fought there during the Warring States era because of its strategic location where the main highways linking Sanin and Sanyo in the east and west converge. The Edo-era castle tower, turrets, and earthen walls are still in place today.

Marugame Castle

Location: Ichiban-cho, Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture 763-0025

Also known as: Kameyama Castle, Horai Castle

Built by: Nara Motoan Castle

Built in: Early Muromachi period (around 14th century)

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Abandoned: 1871 (Mr. Yamazaki, Mr. Kyogoku)

Main repairers: Chikamasa Ikoma, Ieharu Yamazaki

The newer Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture, is home to Marugame Castle, a Japanese castle that was once located in Sanuki Province. With a height of 60 meters overall, it is reputed to be Japan’s highest castle.

The entire area of the castle ruins is known as Kameyama Park and is a recognized national historic monument.

The feudal lord’s entry gate, a guardhouse, a cage room, and a row house are still there in addition to the castle tower, Oteichinomon, and Oteninomon, of which the castle tower, Oteichinomon, and Oteninomon are significant cultural assets.

Matsuyama Castle

Location: 1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture 790-0008

Built by: Yoshiaki Kato

Built in: 1602 Started

Abandoned: 1873

Main lords: Mr. Kato, Mr. Matsudaira (Hisamatsu) Ujimatsuyama

In the city of Matsuyama in the prefecture of Ehime lies a Japanese castle called Castle. There are 21 structures, including the main keep, in the major portion of the castle remains that have been turned into a park at the moment (one of the 12 existing keeps).

The current structure has been given national historic site status, and the castle ruins have been classified as a national significant cultural resource. The castle tower, which is said to be the newest of the twelve castle towers still in existence, was rebuilt in the late Edo era.

Maruoka Castle

Location: 1-59 Kasumi-cho, Maruoka-cho, Sakai-shi, Fukui 910-0231

Also known as: Kasumigajo

Castle built by: Katsutoyo Shibata

Opened: 1576 Main castle

Owners: Mr. Shibata, Mr. Honda, Mr. Arima, Mr. Aoyama

This Hirayama Castle was constructed in 1871 on a tiny, unincorporated hill east of Maruoka City in the Fukui Plain. The story goes that a huge snake arrived during the battle and blew haze, covering the castle, giving rise to the name “Kasumigajo.”

It is one of the 12 still standing castle towers and is presently pursuing national treasure status.

Uwajima Castle

Location: Marunouchi, Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture 798-0060

Also known as: Tsurushima Castle, Itashimamarugushi Castle (former name)

Built by: Takatora Todo

Built in: 1596

Main lords: Mr. Saionji, Mr. Toda, Mr. Tomita Mr., Mr. Todo, Mr. Date

Castle ruined: 1871

Takatora Todo constructed the contemporary castle Uwajima Castle on the medieval remains of Itashimamarukushi Castle. Marunouchi, Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku is home to a Japanese castle.

Although Takatora Todo, who was regarded as a master of castle construction at the time, is considered to have created the area, the castle tower and other features that can be seen today were erected by the Uwajima Date family.

Given that the shogunate misidentified the pentagonal shape of the outer moat as having “four quarters, a total of 14 towns” in a covert letter to Edo, Takatora’s deft design is thought to have been inspired by the “Akikaku no Nawa” tale.

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Nagoya Castle

Location: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture 460-0031

Also known as: Meijo, Kinshachi

Castle built by: Mr. Imagawa Chika

In Meijo, Kita Ward, it is a well-known castle. It was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most renowned castles and was plundered by Oda Nobunaga’s father, Nobuhide. It is also known as “Meijo,” “Kinkojo,” and “Kinjo.” It later gained notoriety as the castle where Nobunaga held his first position as castle ruler.

Kochi Castle

Location: 1-2-1 Marunouchi, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture 780-0850

Also known as: Taka

Castle built by : Mr. Otakasaka 

In Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture, there is a Japanese castle called Kochi Castle. The castle tower, Honmaru Palace, Otemon Gate, and other Edo-era structures are still in place, and the castle ruins have been given national historic site status. It has been chosen as one of Japan’s top 100 castles.

It has withstood the Abandonment Ordinance of 1873 and the war devastation brought on by the Pacific War, earning the title of being the only castle in which the Honmaru building is still intact. exists and has been classified as a cultural asset of national importance.

Osaka Castle

Location: 1-1 Osaka Castle, Chuo Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002

Also known as: Nishiki Castle, Kinjo Osaka Castle/Osaka

Castle year built: 1583 (Tensho 11)

Built by: Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Main castle owners: Toyotomi and Okudaira Mr. and Tokugawa Mr.

The Japanese castle known as Osaka Castle was constructed in the Azuchi-Momoyama era at Ikutamaso Osaka, Higashinari District, Settsu Province, near the point of the Uemachi plateau, and was later reconstructed.

The fortress, built in a concentric circle with a sizable perimeter, an inner moat, and an outside moat, was larger than Lord Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle. “Osaka Castle” of the Toyotomi era was buried under the earth as a result of the repair work done by the Tokugawa shogunate.

Edo Castle

Location: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8111

Also known as: Chiyoda Castle

Built by: Dokan Ota

Castle year: 1457

Main lords: Ota (1457-1486, 1561-1577) ); Ogiya Uesugi (1486-1524); Gohojo (1524-1561, 1577-1590); Tokugawa (1590-1868)

The Imperial Palace was formerly a Japanese palace that was situated in Gun-Edo (modern-day Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo). Edo Castle was taken over by the Tokugawa family in 1590 after Ieyasu Tokugawa occupied it.

It has undergone two expansions and now has a circle of roughly 4 ri, making it the biggest castle in Japan. It served as the shogunate’s administrative center for nearly 260 years, when fifteen Tokugawa shoguns and their vassals performed government business.

Which is the Best Castle in Japan?

Here are the top 15 castles you can visit in Japan! How well-liked are you with the popularity rankings? Himeji Castle came in first. Why not check out the castles we’ve discussed here if you haven’t already?