Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Real Castles In The Sky! 5 Japanese Castles To Visit In Autumn
Gaze up at the magnificent castle ruins found above the clouds! Read this article to discover more about five recommended historical castles located in various regions of Japan and take a peak into the amazing views using Google Street View!
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
Built high up in the mountains, these special castles that look down at the sea of clouds are referred to as "castles in the sky" among the Japanese.
One famous castle in the sky is the Takeda Castle in the Hyogo prefecture. Not only is it popular among castle-lovers, but it's well-known among tourists who love beautiful scenery. This time, let us take a look at a selection of five castles in the sky using Google street view for your to get an idea of how they are like!
Cautions Before Going To The Castle In The Sky
"Timing" is extremely important when going to view the castles in the sky. To witness the iconic scenery with the castle among the sea of clouds, you would need to narrow down your dates to the right time and season.
The recommended season would be between autumn and spring, mainly between late fall and winter (around late November to late February). The best time to visit would be between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning to catch the right timing to see the morning mist. Since it is during the cool season, make sure to dress warmly. In addition to warm clothes, bringing flashlights or headlights to navigate your way up the dark mountain is recommended.
1. Takeda Castle Ruins
Bring your cursor on the image above, then click and drag it around. You will see the image change, making you feel as if you were actually there!
These are the Takeda Castle Ruins. This place was the first castle to bring attention toward Japan's castles in the sky. Many people refer to this castle as Japan's Machu Picchu because of the way it soars above the sea of clouds.
Extending 400 meters from north to south, and 100 meters from east to west, it is one of the largest castles and is also one of Japan's top 100 castles. The castle structure itself is gone, however many people come to visit this location seeking the magnificent views.
As we have mentioned earlier, the best time to visit would be during autumn and winter at around 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning. If you are in the Takeda castle itself, you will not be able to see the entire view, but if you would like a full panorama of the castle, going to Ritsuunkyo Valley or the Fujiwara Pass by the mountain adjacent to the castle is recommended. Each will require a hike up the mountain road, so make sure to prepare yourself physically and mentally.
Address: Hyogo prefecture, Asago, Wadayamacho, Takeda Kojozan 169
The Castle Tower Remains at Bicchu Matsuyama Castle
The best time to see the castles in the skies is autumn when you can see the ruins surrounded by autumn foliage. While the lush greens and the clouds surrounding the castle are magnificent already, seeing the castle surrounded by bright red leaves is another scenery that is definitely worth seeing.
The Bicchu Matsuyama Castle stands on the summit of Mount Gagyu in the Okayama prefecture. Mount Gagyu is a well-known spot for its impressive fall foliage and here, you would be able to witness the castle in the sky surrounded by the gorgeous red leaves. This castle is also an important cultural structure and has one of the twelve castle towers in the entire country.
Actually, you will not be able to spot the sea of clouds every day. On a sunny morning, when the temperatures during the day vary drastically, mist tends to form around the mountain. However, it is very difficult to predict the exact day of the occurrence. To capture the perfect condition of the castle in the sky, many people make their way up the mountain multiple times.
Bicchu Matsuyama Castle
Address: Okayama, Takahashi, Uchisange 1
3. The Mystic Castle? Echizen Ono Castle
When people refer to castles in the sky, they usually imagine the summit of a mountain surrounded by forest and very far from the city. However, the Echizen Ono castle is located only 30 minutes by foot from the JR Echizen Ono Station!
Unlike the other castles, in the case of this castle it is slightly harder to capture the perfect view. The only time you can see the castle surrounded by the sea of clouds is limited to only ten days in a year. Due to its rarity, it is considered to be a view of a lifetime. For those up for a challenge, this castle would be great to visit for this rare view.
Echizen Ono Castle
Address: Fukui, Ono city, Shiromachi 3-109 (Documentation museum)
4. The Most Beautiful Mountain Castle - Gujo Hachiman Castle
Gujo Hachiman Castle was restored in 1933 and is referred to as "the most beautiful mountain castle of Japan". It is a castle surrounded by the mountains and rivers found in the middle of Gujo city in Gifu prefecture. In the summer, you can see the castle among the lush greens, in the autumn it is engulfed in bright red foliage, while in winter it is covered in white powder snow.
Gujo Hachiman Castle
Address: Gifu, Gujo, Hachimancho Yanagimachi, Ichinohei 659
5. Mystical Castle Surrounded By Mist - Akagi Castle Ruins
Lately, the Akagi Castle ruins located in Kumano city, Mie prefecture, are receiving much attention. This is not a castle on top of a mountain, nor can you see a sea of clouds, and yet people visiting it consider this location to be a castle in the sky. Why? That is due to the unique climate of this special area.
Between autumn and winter, there is a unique natural phenomenon called "fuuden oroshi", which consists in mist rolling down like a waterfall from the mountain top toward the valley. A thick, white mist flows into the town of Kumano, and many people come to see it.
The Akagi Castle ruins happen to be in the area where the fuden oroshi phenomenon occurs. If the timing is right, you will be able to see the castle surrounded by the mist.
Akagi Castle ruins
Address: Mie, Kumano city, Kiwacho, Akagi
Castle and Mountain Lovers, Visit The Castles In The Sky!
Visits to the castles in the sky are ideal for castle fans, mountain climbing enthusiasts or for those looking for beautiful locations to visit. Going there can be a challenge, but you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the location.
This is a perfect spot to visit if you are looking for places you can only see in Japan!
This article has been republished and translated from the Street View Blog.