Japan's Real Castle In the Sky Offers Epic Views

Illustration for article titled Japan's Real Castle In the Sky Offers Epic Views
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

This is Takeda Castle. It's located in Hyogo Prefecture. In the sky.

As website JCastle points out, the mountain top castle is now ruins, but it's amazing that in the 15th century, they got all those rocks up the mountain, to 354 meters above sea level.

Advertisement

No wonder the castle is called Japan's Machu Picchu and compared to the famed Studio Ghibli anime Castle in the Sky.

The castle was abandoned in 1600, after its last lord committed seppuku.

According to Japan Realtime, more and more people are visiting the castle each year. The grounds, JCastle notes, are in good condition, and thankfully, tacky fences haven't been put up everywhere, which would have ruined the visual tableau.

Here are views from the castle. Stunning, no?

The best time to go, apparently, is early in the morning to watch the fog cover the mountain, making the castle look like it's floating in air. Autumn is also popular, because the leaves are changing. If you do happen to visit the castle, be aware that the weather can be unpredictable.

Takeda Castle [JCastle]

The Mystery of 'Japan's Machu Picchu' [Japan Realtime]

探訪・竹田城跡 雲海に浮かぶ天空の城 [SankeiNews]

JAL JAPAN PROJECT 兵庫県 竹田城跡 [JapanAirlinesJp]

Photo: rolloutkato

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

DISCUSSION

Japanese castles are always very interesting. Even just the ruins can be quite telling. I used to wonder why I could never find anything about advanced siege weapons in early Japanese warfare (before gunpowder cannons). Siege engines have always been a huge part of ancient and medieval warfare in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa... Ballistae, catapults (using Greek fire) have been used since, well the Ancient Greeks. Later in the Middle Ages catapults evolved into trebuchets... In any case after familiarizing myself with Japanese topography I could see how difficult and slow it would've been to drag around heavy siege weapons to and from these mountaintop castles. It made perfect sense as to why huge siege engines didn't play a big part in Japanese warfare, and why the much more portable cannons were instantaneously adopted when the technology became available.

Too bad there aren't too many of these original warring states mountaintop castles left... (Japanese castles have always had a rather large percentage of wood in their construction) as they are much more interesting than the decorative castles of the Tokugawa shogunate (though admittedly those are larger and more impressive, in no small part due to the fact that they were built to impress). Hmm... all I was trying to say is that I like castles... how did that turn into this?