All About Japan

Top 20 Most Popular Castles of 2016

| Castles , Rankings

If you're having a hard time picking out which castles you'd like to visit in Japan, then you're in luck! For TripAdvisor has just announced their Top 20 most popular castles. If you have already been to some Japanese castles, then see how many more you have to go!

Since we know how exciting it is to find out the top five, we will skip numbers 6-20, but if you are dying to see the list in all its glory, feel free to scroll to the bottom. That being said, let's dive into the top five!

5. Nijo Castle (Kyoto)

Nijo Castle is on a huge block of flat land spanning 275,000 square meters. This castle is one of the seventeen “historic monuments of ancient Kyoto” chosen by UNESCO as a heritage site. Nijo Castle was constructed upon the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu and completed in 1626.

4. Inuyama Castle (Aichi)

Inuyama Castle is also perched on top of a hill and overlooks Kiso River, which serves as the border between Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Inuyama Castle is one of only 12 surviving castles that were built before the Edo Period (1603-1868). Inuyama literally means “dog mountain,” which made the castle’s choice of mascot a little bit easier.

3. Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)

Last year’s number one has come in at number three this year: Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu. Kumamoto Castle is another hilltop castle, originally built in 1467 and reconstructed in 1960. This castle unfortunately suffered moderate damage from the large Kumamoto earthquake.

2. Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)

Maintaining second place for the second year running is Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, which is surrounded by a large moat and stunning mountain ranges. In contrast to Himeji Castle, which is built on a hill, Matsumoto Castle was built on flat land in the late 16 century. Matsumoto Castle is also known as the “Crow Castle” thanks to its black color. The castle’s keep still has its original wooden interiors and outside stonework.

1. Himeji Castle (Hyogo)

Situated in Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji Castle comprises of 83 buildings and is also known as the “White Heron Castle” as its bright white exterior is said to resemble a heron taking flight. Himeji Castle was one of Japan’s first UNESCO world heritage sites in 1993. Restoration work was recently carried out on the castle and it was reopened on March 27, 2015.

As promised, below is the top 20 list of the best castles in Japan according to TripAdvisor:

1. Himeji Castle (Hyogo)
2. Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)
3. Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)
4. Inuyama Castle (Aichi)
5. Nijo Castle (Kyoto)
6. Matsuyama Castle (Ehime)
7. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle (Okayama)
8. Matsue Castle (Shimane)
9. Hikone Castle (Shiga)
10. Nakagusuku Castle Ruins (Okinawa)
11. Katsuren Castle Ruins (Okinawa)
12. Takeda Castle Ruins (Hyogo)
13. Nakijin Castle Remains (Okinawa)
14. Shuri Castle (Okinawa)
15. Kochi Castle (Kochi)
16. Azuchi Castle Ruins (Shiga)
17. Osaka Castle (Osaka)
18. Zakimi Castle Ruins (Okinawa)
19. Maruoka Castle (Fukui)
20. Tsuruga Castle (Fukushima)

You can compare this year’s top 20 ranking with previous years (2012 and 2013) and see which castles have grown in popularity and which have seen a decline.

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