Castles have been around for centuries, and Japan is home to some of the most famous and well-preserved castles in the world.
If you’re looking for an interesting historical destination to visit, be sure to check out some of these amazing Japanese castles.
Each one has a unique story and plenty of things to see and do, so you’ll definitely want to add them to your bucket list.
11 Famous Japanese Castles that You Have to Visit
Japan is a country rich in history and culture, boasting over 600 years of feudalism.
With this much time to develop, it’s no wonder that the country has many beautiful castles that are worth checking out!
Here are 11 famous Japanese Castles you have to visit.
1. Himeji Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Address: 68 Hommachi, Jimeji 670-0012, Hyogo Prefecture
Himeji Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Japan and is considered by many to be one of the best-preserved castles in the country.
It’s located in Himeji, which is about an hour away from Osaka by train.
The castle was built in the early 1600s and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in Japanese history or castles.
The castle is massive, with over 83 buildings and 330 tatami mats.
It’s surrounded by moats and stone walls, and there are several watchtowers that offer great views of the surrounding area.
There are also a few museums on the grounds that offer a more in-depth look at the castle’s history.
2. Matsumoto Castle
- Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Address: 4-1 Marunouchi, 390-0873, Nagano Prefecture
This castle is also known as the “Crow Castle” because of its black exterior.
It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan and it’s easy to see why.
The castle is located in Matsumoto city, which is about 2 hours from Tokyo by train.
The castle was built in 1504 and it has been through a lot of history. It was even occupied by the Tokugawa shogunate for a time.
The castle has a moat and a drawbridge that you can walk across. There are also some really cool artifacts inside the castle that you can check out.
3. Nagoya Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Address: 1-1 Hommaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-0031, Aichi Prefecture
Nagoya Castle is a beautiful castle located in central Japan.
It was built in the early 1600s by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The castle was destroyed during World War II but has since been rebuilt and now houses a museum with exhibits on the castle’s history.
The castle is built on a large, flat piece of land and is surrounded by a moat.
The main keep of the castle is five stories tall and is made out of wood. There are also several smaller keeps and turrets around the castle grounds.
The castle grounds are open to the public and there is a small fee to enter the museum.
The grounds are also a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.
4. Osaka Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka 540-0002, Osaka Prefecture
Located in Osaka, Osaka Castle was first built in the early 15th century.
It later became the stronghold of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the most powerful warlords in Japanese history.
The castle was destroyed in 1615 but was rebuilt in 1931.
Today, it’s a popular tourist destination and houses a museum with exhibits on the castle’s history.
5. Matsue Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Address: 1-5 Tonomachi, Matsue, Shimane 690-0887, Japan
Matsue Castle is one of the most well-preserved castles in Japan, and it’s also one of the oldest.
It was built in 1611 by Matsue Clan leader Horio Yoshiharu, and it has remained in good condition due to regular repairs and renovations over the years.
The castle is surrounded by a moat and has multiple levels, making it a fascinating place to explore.
One of the most unique features of Matsue Castle is its keep, which was built entirely without nails.
This is rare for Japanese castles, and it’s a testament to the skill of the castle’s builders.
The castle grounds are also home to a museum with exhibits on the history of the castle and the Matsue area.
6. Hirosaki Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 7 a.m. to 9 p.m during the Sakura Festival
- Address: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki 036-8356, Aomori Prefecture
Located in the city of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, Hirosaki Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan.
It was built in 1611 by Tokugawa Ieyasu and has been a popular tourist destination for many years.
The castle is surrounded by a moat and has several turrets, making it a very impressive sight.
Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom around the castle in springtime.
7. Hikone Castle
- Hours: 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone 522-0061, Shiga Prefecture
Hikone Castle is one of the most famous and well-preserved castles in Japan.
It was built in the early 1600s and is located in the town of Hikone, just a short train ride from Kyoto.
The castle grounds are open to the public and there are plenty of things to see, including the main keep, several smaller buildings, and a beautiful Japanese garden.
Hikone Castle is a must-see for anyone interested in Japanese history or architecture, and it’s a great place to take the kids for a day out.
There are plenty of photo opportunities, and the castle grounds are large enough to explore for a couple of hours.
If you’re visiting Kyoto, be sure to add Hikone Castle to your itinerary.
8. Shimabara Castle
- Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Address: 1 Chome-1183-1 Jonai, Shimabara, Nagasaki 855-0036, Japan
Located in the city of Shimabara on the Shimabara Peninsula, this castle was originally built in 1618.
It served as the home of the Matsukura clan for almost 200 years before being turned into a museum.
The castle is well known for its beautiful gardens and views of Mt. Unzen.
One of the most notable features of Shimabara Castle is its garden, which was designed by the famous landscape architect Kobori Enshu.
The garden is characterized by its many ponds and bridges, as well as its Hundreds of Cherry Trees.
The castle also has a tea house, where visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
9. Shuri Castle
- Hours: 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Address: 1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa 903-0815, Japan
Nestled atop a hill in the city of Naha, Shuri Castle was once the seat of power for the Ryukyu Kingdom.
It’s a beautiful castle that’s been meticulously restored to its former glory, and it’s now one of Okinawa’s most popular tourist attractions.
Visitors can explore the castle grounds, which include the main keep, several gates, and an expansive garden.
There’s also a museum on the premises that details the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
10. Okayama Castle
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Marunouchi, Kita Ward 700-0823, Okayama Prefecture
Okayama Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Japan and it’s easy to see why.
The castle is located in Okayama City, which is about 2 hours from Tokyo by bullet train.
The castle was built in 1597 and has a beautiful black and white exterior that makes it stand out from other Japanese castles.
Inside, you’ll find a museum with exhibits on the history of the castle and the city.
There are also plenty of photo opportunities, so be sure to bring your camera.
If you’re looking for a unique castle experience, then Okayama Castle is definitely worth a visit.
11. Nijo Castle
- Hours: 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Address: 541 Nijiji-cho, Horikawa-nishiiru, Kyoto 604-8301, Kyoto Prefecture
Nijo Castle is a beautifully preserved castle in Kyoto that was once the official residence of the shogun, or military ruler, of Japan.
The castle is full of stunning architectural features and is surrounded by lovely gardens.
Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and see firsthand how the shogun lived during the Edo period.
Nijo Castle was built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
It served as the primary residence of the shogun and his family until 1867 when the Shogunate was abolished.
The castle then became an imperial palace until it was given to the city of Kyoto in 1939.
Today, the castle is a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Castles are one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Japan and for good reason.
They offer a look into Japanese history and culture that is unmatched by any other attraction.
If you’re looking to visit some of the most famous castles in Japan, then look no further – we’ve got you covered.
From Osaka Castle to Matsumoto Castle, here we listed are 11 of the best Japanese castles that you have to visit on your next trip.