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  1. 1. CastlesFamous and not so famous :)
  2. 2. Himeji Castle is the most visited of the three and is known by many asthe “White Heron” castle due to its bright white exterior. It is on thelist of UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Sites. The castle was builtover a number of years starting in 1333 and being completed in 1346.Like many castles in Japan, it features tall stone foundations. However,Himeji Castle is unique for its complex and confusing paths which leadto the main stronghold. These mazes of paths were constructed withmany dead ends, thus providing a strategic advantage to thoseguarding the castle. Himeji Castle has been used extensively in bothJapanese and foreign films. Amongst its credits include: AbarenboShogun; You Only Live Twice (James Bond); Kagemusha (film by AkiraKurosawa); Ran (film by Akira Kurosawa); The Last Samurai (starringTom Cruise); and Shogun (miniseries staring Richard Chamberlin).Himeji Castle in Hyogo
  3. 3. Matsumoto Castle is an excellent example of a castle built on a plain vs. ahilltop or mountain. Built in the 1580’s, Matsumoto Castle is also known as“Crow Castle” because of its black walls which appear to be spreading wings.In 1872, following the Meiji Restoration, the tower was sold at auction. Likeso many castles in Japan, the Japanese government determined that the costof maintenance was too high and the castles provided limited military value.However, a local citizen of Matsumoto, Ichikawa Ryozo saved it from theauctioneers and the castle was purchased by local citizens in 1878. The mostintriguing part of the castle is its main stronghold. When viewing from theoutside, it appears that it has 3 stories but in reality it has 4. The hidden floorwas used for concealing defenses. Before leaving Matsumoto Castle, it is amust to stroll around the moat which is home to large colored koi and blackswans.Matsumoto Castle in Nagano
  4. 4. Built in 1607, it is known for its curved stone walls which act asa defense against attackers as it prevents the walls from beingscaled. In the Seinan Rebellion, samurai forces led by SaigoTakamori marched to Kumamoto Castle expecting a quickvictory. However, the small band of government forces in thecastle refused to give up. The castle at the end was destroyedby fire and lay in ruins for many centuries. It was rebuilt in1960 with the castle’s main keep now serving as a museum ofthe days of the samurai of Kumamoto. In the museum, you canfind displays of armor, swords, and uniforms used during theSeinan Rebellion. One can climb to the top of the castle for aview of Kumamoto city and the castle grounds.Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto
  5. 5. The construction of Osaka Castle (大阪城, Ōsakajō) started in 1583 on theformer site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed byOda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. Toyotomi Hideyoshi intended thecastle tobecome the center of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi rule. It was thelargest castle at the time.However, a few years after Hideyoshis death, Tokugawa troops attacked anddestroyed the castle and terminated the Toyotomi lineage in 1615. OsakaCastle was rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada in the 1620s, but its main castletower was struck by lightening in 1665 and burnt down.It was not until 1931 that the present ferro-concrete reconstruction of the castletower was built. During the war it miraculously survived the city wide air raids.Major repair works gave the castle new glamor in 1997. The castle tower isnow entirely modern on the inside and even features an elevator for easieraccessibility. It houses an informative museum about the castles history andToyotomi Hideyoshi.Osaka Castle in Osaka
  6. 6. The castle as it stands today was established in 1537 by Nobunagasgrandfather Oda Nobuyasu.According to a Heian period book called "Enkishiki," at the site where Inuyamacastle now stands, there was a shrine called Harigane Shrine (Harigane Jinja).This temple was later moved to Shirayamadaira to make way for the castle.Inuyama-jo was famous for being the only privately owned castle in Japan. Ithad a few different owners early on, and was seized by the Meiji governmentwho held it in their possession from 1872 to 1895. It suffered damage during anearthquake in 1891 and was returned to the Naruse family in 1895 under thecondition that they repair the damages continue to keep up the castle into thefuture. It was recently sold to the city of Inuyama and will soon be taken over byAichi Prefecture.Inuyama Castle in Inuyama, Aichi
  7. 7. 12 Original CastlesCastleBitchu-MatsuyamaInuyamaHikoneHimejiHirosakiKochiMarugameMaruokaMastueMatsumotoMatsuyamaUwajimaJapanesename備中松山犬山彦根姫路弘前高知丸亀丸岡松枝松本松山宇和島PrefectureOkayamaGifuSagaHyogoAomoriKochiKagawaFukuiShimaneNaganoEhimeEhimeFirstconstruction12401440-133316111611-1576--1603-Lastreconstruction?1537162215801627/181017531597(1955)1611159518541665