Japanese castles are masterpieces made of wood and stones. They had two strategic functions. On the one hand, it was a fortress, whose task was to push back the enemy’s attack. On the other hand, they were a symbol of the authority of the owner. Today they are cherished local symbols and popular tourist spots. Japanese castles are very different from castles that can be seen in Europe. They look completely different and are made entirely of wood. Thanks to this, it is easy to rebuild them when they are destroyed and many castles are reconstructions of old buildings.

Matsuyama Castle

Japanese castles were fortified military installations with a high keep as a command post, watchtowers, the walls and moats to repel assaults. Castles also served as centers of government as well as the living quarters of the castles Lords. In the 16th century an estimated 30 to 40000 castles stood in Japan.

Defensive walls of the castle

Castles began to be built all over Japan at the end of the 12th century. The age of the samurai began, and there were conflicts in many places. Most of the castles of that era are fortresses on the top of the hill that used the mountainous terrain of Japan. Rivers, rocks and other natural elements have been used to create powerful defense mechanisms. In the 14th and 15th century, the authority of Shogun and the Emperor became very weak, so samurai from all over Japan fought for territory. This is called the Japanese period of Sengoku. This regional conflict lasted continuously for about 200 years. The result was that the local warlords appeared in every corner of the country and built their own castles.

But as more and more areas were pacified, hilltop castles became inconvenient. Their rugged surroundings and lack of usable land prevented retainers and merchants from living nearby. So castles began to be built on plains rather than up in the mountains. In the 17th century, a long period of peace began under the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Steep stairs that prevented the enemy from quickly entering the upper floors of the castle

Castles were no longer military forts and became centers of political activity. The role of castles in Japan has changed with the changing political situation. Today they are popular sightseeing attractions and symbols of civic pride.

Through the small windows, the area around the castle was observed, and the enemy was attacked

The Matsuyama Castle is the largest castle on the island of Shikoku. It is located in the city center, on the steep Katsuyama mountain. It is one of the 12 “original castles” in Japan. This means that it has not been completely destroyed and then reconstructed.

There are about 200 cherry trees in the castle gardens, which makes the place very popular during Hanami. They are beautiful even when it rains … and even pours …

You can use the castle’s Wi-Fi, and if necessary use a rescue rope (but how ?!)

In many Japanese castles you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. Elegant, green slippers were available here…

Look at the guard’s feet, one foot in the shoe for external use, the other in footwear for internal use. Always ready for action!

And as soon as you climb the steep stairs at the very top, in the green and too big slippers, you see a vast panorama of the Matsuyama city and mountains. Well, unless it’s raining…

There are also small and kawaii trams running around the city.

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