Access to Kinojo Castle, one of Japan's 100 most famous castles, on foot! We walked from JR Hattori Station

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Kinojo Castle Castle in Soja Soja City , Okayama Prefecture, is one of Japan's 100 most famous castles. This time, I took public transportation and walked there from the station.

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"Kinojo Castle" is a mysterious mountain castle built for national defense in ancient times, and its history has yet to be elucidated. When I looked up how to get there, I found that there was a way to go by car to Kinjoyama Visitor Center, a taxi from JR Soja Station, and a way to walk from JR Hattori Station. This time, I took the JR Momotaro Line (Kibi Line) train that departed from JR Okayama Station at 9:29 and arrived at JR Hattori Station at 9:59. I started from JR Hattori Station at 10:00!

10:00 Start from JR Hattori Station!

To get to JR Hattori Station, take the JR Momotaro Line (Kibi Line *bound for Soja) from JR Okayama Station. After getting off at JR Hattori Station, exit the ticket gate and turn left with your back to the station. After walking a little, you will see a sign for Kinojo Castle, so turn right. There are signs all the way to Kinojo Castle, so you should be able to get there without getting lost.

Go under the highway overpass

It's about a 7-minute walk from here.

Soja City Flower: "Cherry Blossom"

At this time of year (late April to early May), the Soja City flower, the lotus flower, was in full bloom. As I walked along, I saw a Lawson sign on my right.

10:35 Sunagawa Park

After passing Lawson, continue straight along the road and you will arrive at Sunagawa Park in about 30 minutes on foot. Sunagawa Park is a popular park for people of all ages, with a water play area with a natural water slide and a campsite equipped with a kitchen and toilets. You will pass through Sunagawa Park.

Click here for details

11:02 3,000m to Kinojo Castle Parking Lot

Once you pass Sunagawa Park, you will see a sign for the parking lot. From here, you will climb 3km. The road to the parking lot is narrow in places, so please be careful of cars!

We discovered crabs and flowers along the way!

Distance signs to the parking lot are set up every 500m, so it was easy to see how many kilometers there are left. The most difficult part of the journey was between 2km and 1.5km remaining. The slope was so steep that it was hard to take a step, and I had to take a break along the way to climb. However, I enjoyed the climb, seeing various flowers blooming on the roadside and discovering crabs. Many people were heading there by car, but I also passed several groups of people walking down the mountain.

11:48 Demon's Cauldron

As you climb, a huge rusty cauldron catches your eye. It has a diameter of 185.2cm and a height of 104.5cm. According to legend, the legendary demon Ura, who lived in Kinojo Castle, used it to boil sacrifices, hence the name "Demon's Cauldron."

11:51 Heavenly Teahouse Taichiya (stayed for about an hour)

I found a sign that caught my eye! I was surprised and asked myself, "Is there a shop in a place like this?" I headed towards the shop, but it was a little far from the sign and I was worried I would really get there, but then an old house appeared. The shop staff greeted me cheerfully. There was an observation deck and a hammock on the premises, so it was a shop with a lot of interesting things!

shaved ice

The kids who went with me ordered shaved ice. The shaved ice made in an old-fashioned shaved ice machine was delicious!

Himalayan salt rice ball and miso soup with lots of ingredients (Taichiya miso)

The meal we had here was an indescribably luxurious experience. The rice balls were made with barley, making them chewy and delicious, and the miso soup was filled with so many ingredients that I was surprised at how many different vegetables were in it. I was able to take a leisurely break, and my stomach was full, completely relieving the fatigue of climbing all the way up here. It was a really nice restaurant, so even if you're coming by car, I recommend stopping by!

Address: 953 Kuroo, Soja Soja City, Okayama Prefecture

TEL: 090-7121-1951

Business days: Friday to Sunday and public holidays

Business hours: 11:00-16:00

Parking: Available

Heavenly Nagomi Teahouse Taichiya | Official website

13:04 Soja City Onishiroyama Visitor Center

From Taichiya, it's about a 10-minute walk to the Kinojo Visitor Center. There is the Furusato Nature Path Walking Center Building and the Exhibition Building (Guidance Facility). We recommend stopping by the Visitor Center first to gather information before setting off. Please note that vending machines and restrooms are only available here. If you are coming by car, there is a parking lot at Kinojo Castle Visitor Center.

Observation Deck (Learning Plaza)

You can see Kinojo Castle from the observation deck of the visitor center. The castle standing in the mountains is very striking and cool.

13:23 West Gate

It takes about 20 minutes on foot from Kinojo Castle Visitor Center!

There are four gates in the Kinojo Castle walls, and only the West Gate has been restored. This West Gate is the highlight. It is large and impressive when seen up close. From here, we took the Observation Course and the Mountain Range Course to the "Kishiroyama Visitor Center". There is a walking trail, but it is rough in places, so we recommend wearing athletic clothing if you are going around. Some people even had trekking poles.


Another highlight of Kinojo Castle is its water gates. There are six of them in total. There are great viewing points along the promenade, from which you can get a great view of the Okayama Plain.

14:19 Remains of the North Gate

We went around the West Gate, South Gate, East Gate, and finally the North Gate. We could have gone towards the cave from here, but we didn't go there this time and returned to the "Kishiroyama Visitor Center". It took about 1 hour and 32 minutes to complete the whole circuit. Walking around the course piqued my intellectual curiosity about ancient history, and I was refreshed by the wonderful views and fresh mountain air.

On the way back, we left the Kinojoyama Visitor Center at 14:36, passed Sunagawa Park at 15:27, and arrived at JR Hattori Station at 15:52. We took our time on the way there because we made detours and climbed slowly, but on the way back we arrived in 1 hour and 16 minutes. It may be a little tiring, but climbing on foot is also fun as you will discover new things, so please try walking to Kinojo Castle ♪

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Okayama Prefecture is located in the center of western Japan and is known as the ``Land of Sunny'' due to its mild climate with little rain throughout the year. Conveniently located in the middle of famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima! It is also the gateway to Shikoku via the Seto Ohashi Bridge. Okayama is also known as the "Fruit Kingdom," and the fruits that have been exposed to the sun in the warm climate of Setouchi are of the highest quality in terms of sweetness, aroma, and taste. You can enjoy seasonal fruits such as white peach, muscat, and pione! There are also world-class sightseeing spots such as ``Okayama Castle'', ``Okayama Korakuen'', one of Japan's three famous gardens, and Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, which are proud of their history, culture, and art!

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