The top 6 Amazing castles in and around Tokyo to explore are listed below:
- Matsumoto Castle
- Hachioji Castle
- Osaka Castle
- Okayama Castle
- Nagoya Castle
- Hikone Castle
Continue reading to discover more about these castles in and around Tokyo and why they’re considered the best to explore. With the average speed of the Shinkansen being 199 MPH, many of these castles can be reached quickly from Tokyo Station.
In addition to the efficient travel speeds buying a Japan Rail Pass makes the trip even more appealing and cost-effective. Check out our article on the JR Pass at the end of this article.
Castles In and Near Tokyo
With its enticing combination of ancient and contemporary, Japan provides unforgettable encounters and amazingly built castles dotted across the land.
Explore Matsumoto Castle
The nearest original castle to Tokyo is Matsumoto Castle. Matsumoto Castle is widely recognized as one of the country’s most spectacular castles, despite being two or three hours away from the capital.
Tokyo To Matsumoto Castle Distance 134 Miles
The building of Matsumoto Castle began in 1504 near Matsumoto, on the edge of the Japanese Alps, and was finally finished in the 1590s, by then under the power of followers of the famed daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after innumerable wars and changing hands.
Much of the original construction of the castle has been preserved.
Matsumoto is a six-story castle built over 400 years ago. Fortunately, it still has its original timber framework. Take a stroll around the castle’s hallways, climb to the top of the tower, and envision life amid Matsumoto’s rich history of samurai, ninja, and castle town culture.
Hiking at Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto, surrounded by mountains, is a true outdoor lover’s heaven. There is a trek for everyone here, from laid-back nature trails in the wonderfully picturesque Kamikochi to the towering, 9842-foot summit of Mt. Hotaka and Mt. Yari.
Against the rocky backdrop, the castle’s tiered keep, or donjon, painted in rich black and white, creates a stunning fortress.
The indestructible look has not changed over the decades. The frightening moniker The Crow Castle comes from the keep’s color scheme and its spread, wing-like auxiliary structures.
Explore Osaka Castle
The building of Osaka Castle began in 1583 on the site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been desecrated thirteen years before by Oda Nobunaga. Toyotomi Hideyoshi envisioned the castle as the heart of a future, united Japan under his authority.
Tokyo To Osaka Castle 247 Miles
Tokugawa forces stormed and demolished the castle a few years after Hideyoshi’s death, ending the Toyotomi bloodline in 1615.
Tokugawa Hidetada erected Osaka Castle in the 1620s, but the central castle tower was hit by lightning and was destroyed by the ensuing fire in 1665.
The current ferroconcrete rebuilding of the castle tower was not completed until 1931. It remarkably survived the city-wide air strikes during the war. In 1997, major restoration work restored the castle’s luster.
Why Visit Osaka Castle
On the interior of the castle, the inside of the tower is now completely contemporary, including an elevator for easier access. It features a museum dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the castle’s history.
Although Morinomiya or Osakajokoen Station provides excellent access, five train stations surround Osaka Castle.
People may access the castle through the grounds from either station, and it’s well worth it for interested visitors to arrive by one and exit by the other.
It is strongly advised that you spend at least two to three hours visiting Osaka Castle since this will give you enough time to take in the landscape, both manicured and natural.
Osaka Castle is an absolute must-see location for first-time visitors to Japan’s Kansai area. It’s the ideal half-day quest for those who want to enjoy both calm nature and Osaka’s rich and fascinating history. This experience is unquestionably worth your time and effort to explore this amazing castle.
Explore Okayama Castle
Okayama Castle, often known as “crow castle” because of its dark facade, was constructed in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period in 1597. In World War II’s final year, the ancient castle was destroyed, but it was rebuilt in 1966.
The Asahi River, which also serves as a moat, runs around the castle. Just over the river lies the Korakuen Garden.
The Tsukimi Yagura, which dates from 1620, was the only original building of Okayama Castle that survived the conflict.
There are also reconstructions and foundations of a few additional previous structures, which assist in demonstrating the castle complex’s original size.
Tokyo To Okayama Castle 406 Miles
Exhibits on the castle’s history and growth may be seen inside the six-story castle keep. There is also a pottery workshop where tourists may learn how to make Bizen-yaki, Japanese pottery exclusive to Okayama Prefecture.
Explore Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle was established at the start of the Edo Period as the Owari branch of the governing Tokugawa family, one of the three branches of the Tokugawa dynasty.
As a result, it was one of the country’s largest castles, and the castle town that surrounded it expanded to become Japan’s fourth-largest city.
The castle keeps, palace structures, and most of the castle buildings were destroyed in the 1945 airstrikes.
Tokyo Station To Nagoya Castle 237 Miles
The present ferro-concrete rebuild of the castle keep dates from 1959, and it housed a contemporary museum with displays about the castle’s history until it closed in May 2018.
Two rounds of moats encircle the castle keep, which is surrounded by high walls with corner turrets. It becomes a popular hanami destination during cherry blossom season, which normally runs from late March to early April.
The Modern Reconstruction of Nagoya Castle
The castle’s palace was completely reconstructed and reopened to the public in June 2018. The palace was reconstructed using traditional construction materials and techniques half a century after being destroyed in the conflict.
It has entry and reception halls and chambers dedicated to visiting shoguns with imitation paintings on the sliding doors. The palace is widely regarded as one of Japan’s most outstanding examples of Shoin architecture.
According to another ambitious scheme, Nagoya Castle’s main keep will be rebuilt in wood by 2028. The present ferro-concrete main keep will be dismantled in 2023 since being closed to the public in May 2018.
The new wooden main keep is set to open in 2026 and will be completed in October 2028.
Explore Hikone Castle
Hikone Castle is one of only five original castles in Japan, and it is designated as a National Treasure. That means you’ll view the castle through the eyes of the feudal lords who formerly resided there.
It took 20 years to construct, and after you see the intricate architecture and artistry, you’ll understand why.
Tokyo Station To Hikone Castle 262 Miles
Keep an eye out for all the castle’s designers’ methods intended to defend it. A spiral ramp leading to the entryway made assailants easy targets, as did artistically disguised apertures in the walls for archers’ arrows.
Sightseeing at Hikone Castle
The castle grounds include actual and meticulously reconstructed structures from the feudal era and a museum presenting some of the family’s riches and artifacts depicting how they lived and ruled.
Moonlight is considered the most excellent way to observe Hikone Castle, which is one of the top Eight Views of Lake Biwa.
Hikone Castle is also home to one of Japan’s 100 most stunning noises, a bell that resonates across the castle grounds once every hour during the day.
Make plans to spend at least a half-day exploring this intriguing place. If you go in the spring, you might wish to stay a bit longer because beautiful pale pink cherry trees surround the castle and its surroundings.
Explore Hachioji Castle
Hachioji Castle, located in the foothills that border Tokyo, witnessed a ferocious, brutal fight on June 23, 1590, which cost the lives of nearly 25,000 people. The castle was reduced to ruins, and its once-impenetrable reputation was eternally destroyed.
The slaughter site would remain untouched for the next 400 years, serving as a grim reminder of that day.
In the 1980s, a team of archaeologists set out to uncover what was left of the castle, excavating its broad foundations to expose an immense complex with several watchtowers, guardhouses, living quarters, and keeps.
The entire site is now open to the public. Due to the restoration effort, it is now possible to imagine exactly how massive this mountain castle may have once been.
Tokyo Station To Hachioji Castle 37 Miles
The castle’s location also contributes to this. Rolling back the centuries isn’t too much of a leap for the mind here, set among tranquil, lush woodland and wide meadows.
Hachioji Castle is only one hour from central Tokyo on the Chuo Line, but it feels a world apart.