Translated by Hilary Keyes
The Rare Wooden Tower Of Ozu Castle: Access, Highlights And More
Ozu Castle, located in Ozu, Ehime prefecture, is unusual in that it has a wooden castle tower and part of an existing guard tower, which have made it one of Japan's top 100 castles. Here are the highlights and access routes to this unique castle.
Written by Mayu
Ozu Castle, located in Ozu, Ehime prefecture in the Shikoku region of Japan is unusual in that it has a wooden castle tower and part of an existing yagura, which have made it one of Japan's top 100 castles. Here are the highlights and access routes to this unique castle.
What Is Ozu Castle?
Ozu Castle is a castle located Ozu city, Ehime prefecture, which is part of the Shikoku region of Japan. It was built from the 14th to 17th century, however many of the original structures were dismantled in the past, save for some of the towers. In 2004, based on extant historical documents from the Edo era, the four storey tenshu (*1) was restored to its appearance at that time. The restoration was completed thanks to the generous donations of the citizens, and the castle itself is a well-beloved sight by the residents of the area.
This tenshu was fully rebuilt using traditional construction methods and domestically produced timber. This makes is a rather unusual reconstruction as the majority of Japanese castles today were rebuilt using reinforced bars and concrete instead. This tower is roughly twenty meters tall, which also makes it one of the tallest castle towers nationwide.
Because of Ozu Castle's unusual tenshu, remaining historical yagura (guard tower) and other cultural items, it is also part of Japan's Top 100 Castles ranking. In this article we will introduce more about the castle itself, how to reach it, and some of the highlights of the area as well.
*1 Tenshu: the castle tower, the tallest or main part of the structure itself.
Basic Information on Ozu Castle
Ozu Castle is open from 9:00-17: 00; admission is available only until 16:30. This castle is open all year long. Admission costs 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for junior high aged children and under, and is free for children five years old and under.
How to Reach Ozu Castle
If you are traveling from the Tokyo and Osaka direction to Ozu Castle, you will first want to head to Okayama Station via the shinkansen, then change to the JR Seto Ohashi line Limited Express Shiokaze train and get off at Matsuyama Station. It is located about two and a half hours away from Okayama, and will cost 6310 yen.
From Matsuyama Station, take the JR Limited Express Uwakai train bound for Uwakai and get off at Iyo Ozu Station. This will take about 35 minutes and cost 1470 yen. It is then about a twenty minute walk from Iyo Ozu Station to the castle.
The Highlights of Ozu Castle
The Castle Tower
The castle tower of Ozu Castle was fully rebuilt using domestic timber, which has given its interior a warmth characteristic of wooden buildings. There is a diorama inside that has faithfully reproduced the appearance of the former castle, and there are replicas of armor worn by samurai in the past as well on display here.
The Towers of Ozu Castle
Although the vast majority of Ozu Castle was dismantled, the four yagura or guard towers (Daidokoro Yagura, Minamisumi Yagura, Koran Yagura, and Owata Yagura) remained as they were during the Edo era, and have been designated Important Cultural properties of Japan as a result. These turrets are located about a ten minute walk away from the castle tower, so if you plan to visit Ozu Castle, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to see everything.