What are the 10 most popular castles in Japan? We now know thanks to the folks at Hankyu Travel International, who based the ranking on internet searches for the castles during the past year.
Though the most obvious attraction of a castle is its main keep, many visitors also come for the moats, walls and scenery, not to mention high-tech events that employ AR, VR and projection mapping. For that reason, perhaps, a few castles ruins even made the list!
Without further ado, the list (three castles tied for 10th place):
1. Himeji Castle (Hyogo)
2. Takeda Castle (Hyogo)
3. Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)
4. Edo Castle (Tokyo)
5. Hikone Castle (Shiga)
6. Osaka Castle (Osaka)
7. Ueda Castle (Nagano)
8. Goryokaku (Hokkaido)
9. Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)
10. Nagoya Castle (Aichi)
10. Nijyo Castle (Kyoto)
10. Hirosaki Castle (Aomori)
Some additional information about the top three:
3rd place – Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto, Nagano)
Its five-story castle keep is the oldest in Japan, and is designated as a National Treasure. The biggest charm of this castle is its appearance, covered by black and white plastered clapboard—and the Northern Japanese Alps in the background don’t hurt either. If you can’t make it to Matsumoto, you’re in luck: there’s a VR app available.
2nd place – Takeda Castle (Asago, Hyogo)
Located on the top of Kojyozan (353.7m height) in Asago, Hyogo, Takeda Castle was actually destroyed 400 years ago, and only its walls still exist today. Said walls are often surrounded by thick fog and looks as if they’re floating on the cloud sea, giving the ruins the nickname “castle in the sky.”
1st place – Himeji Castle (Himeji, Hyogo)
2.4 billion yen was spent on this castle’s large-scale renovation, which took 5.5 years. It seems to have worked: visitors reached 2.2 million in 2015. Registered as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1993, a first for a Japanese castle. An AR app is available to help you navigate the site.
Which castles have you visited?
For more information, visit PR TIMES (Japanese only)