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Visiting Castles in Hyogo

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Hyogo prefecture was once divided into five provinces of Settsu, Harima, Tajima, Tamba, and Awaji. In each former province, there are castles that are landmarks remained from that time. The region has 21 Castle Ruins that have been designated by the government as historic landmarks, more than anywhere else in Japan. In addition to the Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site and National Treasure Himeji Castle, the Castles of Akashi, Ako, Tatsuno, Takeda, Sasayama, and Sumoto are exemplary castles of Hyogo prefecture. Going for a walk in the elegant and historic streets of the castle towns is a great way to experience the sites.

Castles in Hyogo

Hyogo prefecture is said to have had over 1000 castles. There are many castles famous in Japan. You can see many different types of castles in Hyogo, some on top of mountains and some in the middle of towns.

How to Enjoy Castles

The castles in Japan are built especially well even among the many other Japanese architecture. By looking at the castles not only from the front but from other directions, you will begin to understand the structure well. Generally, castles are built in locations with beautiful cherry blossoms or colored autumn leaves. Try to visit castles during each season of the year.

Harima

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is registered as a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site. This is one of the most famous and popular castle even among the many other castles in Japan. Its beautiful white walls have earned it the nickname of 'White Heron Castle'. After the 5-year restoration work completed in March 2015, it has taken on an even more beautiful figure. You can get a full view of Himeji city from Tenshukaku (castle tower). A guided tour for foreign tourists is available free of charge.

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Harima

Akashi Castle Ruins

Akashi Castle is located inside Akashi Park. This castle is famous for its two beautiful watchtowers. At the entrance, there is a robot dressing as Samurai. The robot beats a drum to announce the time. It is also a popular spot for beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. Many trees and flowers are planted in the park, you can enjoy strolling in the nature.

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Harima

Tatsuno Castle

Tatsuno Castle was built more than 500 years ago, and the stonewalls are currently the only original remnants. The white walls and gate have been reconstructed. The traditional Japanese townscape remains nearby, such as Samurai residences and temples. Taking a walk around the Tatsuno Castle town is highly recommended. It is also a famous place to view cherry blossoms in the spring. The west side of the area has around 3000 cherry blossom trees.

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Tajima

Takeda Castle Ruins

Takeda Castle is built on a mountain 354m above sea level. On the top of the mountain there is a massive stone wall left. The figure resembles the shape of a sleeping tiger. In autumn mornings when the weather is fine often fog occurs, and the castle wall appears to float on the clouds. This phenomenon has earned it a nickname of 'Castle in the Sky'.

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Tamba

Sasayama Castle Ruins

The large-scale stone wall remains from the original structure of Sasayama Castle. The stones stacked very high have an impressive sight. A traditional Japanese building called O-syoin also remains, and there is a museum inside. Surrounded by an outer moat brimming with water, the Castle Ruins is known as one of the best spot for cherry blossoms in spring. and the area is lit up at night during the season. Taking a walk around the castle town is also highly reommended.

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Awaji

Sumoto Castle

Sumoto Castle is located atop a mountain. The highly stacked stone wall on the southern side is magnificent. The stone wall exists exactly as it was when it was built. From the top of the mountain you can get a clear view of Sumoto city and the beautiful ocean. This stunning view is highly recommended to see. he castle is also famous for cherry blossoms in spring. At night the castle is beautifully illuminated.

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