Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a prefecture situated on Honshu Island. Loads of imperial palaces, Buddhist temples, ancient castles, Shinto shrines, and verdant green gardens define Kyoto. Even with Japan modernizing, a scent of smoldering incense and monks reciting prayers in the Zen gardens serves as a reminder that Kyoto remains the spiritual core of Japan. A trip to the former capital of Japan is incomplete without exploring popular Kyoto Castles. These castles serve as a reminder to the Japanese about the history of their nation and the battles they have fought for their independence. Visiting these castles will take you on a journey through Japan’s history.
Top 5 Kyoto Castles
We have compiled a list of the top castles in Kyoto that you must explore when visiting this prefecture. From intricate carvings to elaborate furnishings, you will witness the abundant culture and history of Japan.
1. Nijo Castle
Previously the residence of one of the most influential men, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Nijo Castle is now a world heritage site that attracts many tourists each year. Originally built as a residence, it was later converted into a defensive stronghold to safeguard against enemies of the shogun. Special floorboards were installed to alert if anyone approached the house, as they created creaking noises. Additionally, the castle consists of two concentric rings, the Honmaru Palace & Ninomaru Palace, as well as numerous gardens. Nijo Castle has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
Location: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, JapanOpening Hours: 8:45 AM – 5:00 PM (All Days)
2. Fukuchiyama Castle
Originally governed by the Yokoyama family, Fukuchiyama Castle was reconstructed by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1580. However, it was also destroyed in 1872 during the Meiji Restoration, along with other castles. Under Emperor Meiji, Japan underwent a transformation due to the adoption of modernization. Moreover, the castle also features a well-known as Toyoiwa-no-I, which is the deepest well in Japan. The well is still enclosed by several original stones.
Location: 5 Naiki, Fukuchiyama 620-0035, Kyoto PrefectureOpening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Closed On Tuesday)
3. Fushimi Momoyama Fortress
The stunning Fushimi Fortress is a reproduction of the authentic structure Toyotomi Hideyoshi which was constructed in 1964. This fortress was erected after the retirement of Hideyoshi from the regency and it took two years to finalize it in 1594. One of the chambers in the fortress, Golden Tea Room, is adorned with gold leaf and intricate furnishings which is the primary reason why individuals visit to explore this fortress. The fortress was demolished and reconstructed multiple times and now the new structure functions as a museum that showcases the life and accomplishments of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Location: Momoyamacho Okura, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8051, Japan Operating Hours: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Everyday)
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