Chasing Castles in Japan

Japan has been for its amazing technological advancement and colorful contributions to pop culture. But despite of these growing movements towards globalization and westernization of Japan, it was still able to retain its identity, culture, and history. Among these hallmarks of culture are the regal castles that still stand grandiose after all these years, preserving the the classic Japanese architecture and the richness of its history.

During the feudal age of Japan, the castles’ fortress of moats and walls protect the town from possible attacks from invaders. Today, they are echoes of Japan’s past, preserving its long colorful history. They also attract a lot of tourists and visitors from different parts of the world.

If ever you visit Japan soon, you must check out these beautiful castles! Here are the top picks:

Osaka Castle

Castles in Japan, more often than not, were built with a specific symbolism.  Some were the manifestation of power and unification. While other castles represent change, specifically change in power. It is important to take note of these symbolisms to truly grasp the evolution of the Japanese culture and identity.

For the Osaka Castle, it is a tall symbol of fluidity and continuity. It has definitely adapted and changes to fit the different periods of the Japanese history. Supposedly, the Osaka Castle is the representation of a unified country but due to certain circumstances that did not came to be. After falling to different shogunates and surviving multiple attacks and such, the castle was restored to its original beauty and pomp.

Today, the castle attracts many visitors from different parts of the globe. The best time to visit the Osaka Castle is around spring time when the cherry blossoms within the grounds are in full bloom.

Matsue Castle

Matsue Castle is also known as the Black castle because of its dark color and austere facade. Located in the Shimane prefecture, it is one of the few remaining castles that date back to the feudal ages of Japan. Built in 1607 and finished in 1611, it has a very strong structure and has withstood the test of time. It may look like a five-level building but in reality it hides seven levels. Aside from touring the castle and the castle grounds, you may also enjoy a boat ride around the grand moats of the castle.

Nagoya Castle

Located in the fourth largest city in Japan, Nagoya castle was originally constructed during the beginning of the Edo period. It was under the ownership of the Tokugawa family, serving as the fortress of their castle town. During 1945, most of the castle building was destroyed because of the raids. Today, the castle contains a museum where the visitors can revisit the richness and depth of its history. It is currently undergoing major renovations and reconstructions and will most likely be completed in 2016. But for the mean time, visitors may opt to visit the museum. The castle is also at its most beautiful during spring when it is filled with cherry blossoms.