Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle was originally built on a nearby mountain in 1240 AD by Akiba Shigenobu. Takahashi Muneyasu constructed a castle on the modern site on Mount Gagyu in 1331, though the design of this castle differed from the one that stands on the site now. This fortification dates to 1683, when Mizunoya Sakyonosuke Katsumune built the castle that is on the site now. It is also a popular place to visit because it is the only yamashiro, or mountain castle, to have an original tenshu.
Hikone Castle is the most famous historical site in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. This Edo period castle traces its origin to 1603 when Ii Naokatsu, son of the former daimyo Ii Naomasa, ordered its construction. Hikone Castle's three storied castle keep is relatively small but displays a unique design that combines multiple different architecture styles. This is one reason why the castle has been designated a national treasure.
Himeji Castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture, comprising a network of 83 buildings with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. For over 400 years, Himeji Castle has remained intact, even throughout the extensive bombing of Himeji in World War II, and natural disasters such as the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake. Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
Hirosaki Castle is a castle town that has always played a major role in politics and economics in the region since Hirosaki Castle was built in the 17th century. There are many seasonal attractions in Hirosaki throughout the year. Two spectacular festivals in Hirosaki are the Hirosaki Sakura-matsuri (cherry blossom festival) and the Hirosaki Neputa-matsuri Festival held in summer.
Inuyama Castle's has never been destroyed since its construction in 1537 and it's donjon is considered Japan's oldest. The castle stands on top of a small hill next to the Kiso River and it is one of only four castles which are designated national treasures.
Kochi Castle construction was begun in 1601 and was completed in 1611. Much of the original fortress burned down in 1727 but it was reconstructed between 1729 and 1753 in the original style. The castle underwent major restoration from 1948 to 1959. Though no battles were fought at the castle, it is noteworthy because the castle is the original structure, and not a post-war replica. It is also the only castle in Japan to retain both its original tenshu, or keep, and its palace. In fact, it is the only castle to have all the original buildings in the honmaru, or innermost ring of defense, still standing.