There are plenty of restorations, but if you want to stand at the castle gate and see the same feudal keep that stood centuries before, you’ll have to make a special trip to one of the twelve. Matsue city, capital of Shimane prefecture, is home to one such castle, built in 1611 by Horio Yoshiharu.
Besides getting to know more about Japan through major cities like Tokyo or Osaka, Japanese culture also can be seen from historical prefectures, such as Ishikawa Prefecture, located in Japan's central Honshu. To visit Kanazawa, capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, is to explore the well-preserved Edo Period districts, samurai culture as well as Japanese handicrafts products and beautiful nature.
According to some, had it not been destroyed by bombardments in World War II, the Nagoya Castle would have surpassed Himeji Castle, as Japan’s most impressive feudal castle. Nonetheless, its current ferroconcrete reconstruction from 1959 and surrounding Meijo Park with over 2,000 cherry trees makes for a marvelous sight in early spring. But the castle is a picturesque vision throughout the year with a variety of blooms.
Sometimes, after a long day of shopping, you just need to find somewhere to sit down for a few minutes. If such a spot is green and peaceful, that’s even better. Fortunately, for anyone who finds themselves in downtown Utsunomiya City, whether for business or pleasure, Utsunomiya Castle Ruins Park provides exactly such a spot.
Located in the north of Saitama Prefecture, Gyoda City is an ideal place to spend a day for history nerds, park enthusiasts, those wanting to learn about Japanese culture – in fact the list is endless, as it is a great day out for anyone!
Osaka Castle Park is the second largest park in the City. As a tourist, even though I have had inadequate knowledge about the site’s history, yet I was astonished by the preservation of the fortress.
Hachioji Castle was built on Shiroyama mountain in the 1570s and features defenses that sprawl across the mountain top, that take advantage of the steep paths and natural formations to enhance the castle’s strategic defenses. Rumors and stories of strange occurrences and ghostly sightings give rise to reports that the site of Hachioji Castle is haunted.
If you have time in Nagoya, that big and under-appreciated metropolis on the Tokaido shinkansen line, you can use the opportunity to do a quick jaunt up to Inuyama Castle (犬山城, Inuyamajō), the smallest (and supposedly oldest) original castle of them all.
Japan's second largest northern city and capital city of the Tohoku region, is the city of Sendai. Having first heard about Sendai when reading about the age of the samurai during which Sendai was the stronghold of the Date-clan the city had a certain historical appeal to it.
Gifu Prefecture in the Chubu region of Japan is a fantastic place to enjoy the beautiful autumn colours in fall. Gifu is lucky to be surrounded by mountains, which means it has a wealth of destinations that are famous for their beautiful autumn foliage.