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Japanese Castles


Japanese castles were built during the feudal period (approximately from 1185 to 1867) and particularly in the 16th and early 17th centuries, during and just after the Japanese civil war. All were built in a similar defensive style, with a castle keep rising on 3, 4 or 5 storeys. Most of them were painted white, or occasionally black, or black and white.

It is almost impossible to know exactly how many castles there has been in the whole of Japan's history. Some believe that there could have been up to 40,000 castles before the Meiji restoration, which seems rather unlikely. All depends on what can be called a castle, as some were no bigger than an average house, but with the architectural appearance of a castle.

Nowadays, there are about 50 castles left in Japan, including the ruins and reconstructions. Among them, only 12 original castles are still standing.

The original castles

Here is a list of the remaining original castles with the first date of construction and last time the castle was rebuilt in feudal times (as opposed to modern ferro-concrete reconstructions).

Note that Maruoka castle is considered as an original, even though it was destoyed by an earthquake in 1955, as the original materials were used for its reconstruction.


Castle

Bitchu-Matsuyama
Inuyama
Hikone
Himeji
Hirosaki
Kōchi
Marugame
Maruoka
Mastue
Matsumoto
Matsuyama
Uwajima
Japanese name

備中松山
犬山
彦根
姫路
弘前
高知
丸亀
丸岡
松枝
松本
松山
宇和島
Prefecture

Okayama
Gifu
Saga
Hyōgo
Aomori
Kōchi
Kagawa
Fukui
Shimane
Nagano
Ehime
Ehime
First construction

1240
1440
-
1333
1611
1611
-
1576
-
-
1603
-
Last reconstruction

?
1537
1622
1580
1627/1810
1753
1597
(1955)
1611
1595
1854
1665


Reconstructed castles

Large castles

Edo (Tōkyō)
Nijō (Kyōto)
Osaka
Okayama
Hiroshima
Kanazawa
Kumamoto
Nagoya
Shimabara
Wakayama

Average size castles

Chiba
Funai
Gifu
Gujō Hachiman
Hirado
Iwakuni
Kishiwada
Kakegawa
Kaminoyama
Nakatsu
Odawara
Ogaki
Okazaki
Ozu
Sekiyado
Shirakawa (=Komine)
Sunomata
Sunpu
Takamatsu

Minor castles


Haga
Hamamatsu
Kawanoe
Kitsuki
Kiyosu
Komaki
Iwamura
Izushi
Nagahama
Oshi
Shiroishi (=Masuoka)
Tatsuno
Zeze
Nagoya castle, Aichi prefecture
Nagoya Castle


Ninomaru Palace, Nijō-jō Castle, Kyoto
Nijō Castle, Kyoto


Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle
Uwajima castle
Uwajima Castle

The ruins

Akou
Bittsuutakamatsu
Goryokaku
Hachiouji
Hara
Hizennagoya
Hachimanyama
Hiji
Hitoyoshi
Kushima
Kasumiga (=Nihonmatsu)
Morioka
Oka
Rikan
Sakamoto
Tokushima
Tsuyama
Tomioka
Takeda
Takatori
Tsuchiura
Yamanaka
Yamatokooriyama

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