Takamatsu Castle 高松城
Founder Ikoma Chikamasa
Year 1588
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Tamamo-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Kitanomaru Tsukimi Yagura, Kitanomaru Watariyagura, Ushitora Yagura, Kitanomaru Mizute Gomon
Location Takamatsu, Kagawa Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Takamatsu Sta. (Yosan Line); 10 min walk
Website Takamatsu Castle
Visited Feb 28, 2016
Visitor Info. Open times vary by season. The west gate is open as early as long as 5:30-19:00 in the summer, but 7:00-15:00 in January. Closed Dec 29-31. 200 yen. | Time Required: 120 mins
Notes Takamatsu Castle would have been really interesting to visit in the Edo Period before much of the ocean front was filled in to make more real estate. At high tide it would have looked like it was literally a floating fortress. If you visit today the only vestige of those times is the Mizunotegomon Gate next to the Tsukimi Yagura. At high tide water should come right up to the edge of the gate doors. I did lookup high tide times in advance but I decided to spend my afternoon at Marugame Castle instead which was a good choice because I needed much more time than I expected at Marugame. Otherwise, this is a beautiful castle with a lot more stonework and nicely water filled moats than I had expected. I'll have to visit again one all the construction is done.
History Ikoma Chikamasa was stationed in Takamatsu by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1587. He started building the castle in 1588 and it was completed in 1590. Four generations of Ikoma ruled Takamatsu until the 11 year old Takatoshi was re-stationed to the remote Dewa Province in Northeastern Japan in 1639 with greatly reduced lands. This was a punishment for conflicts caused by the Ikoma clan and their retainers. Tokugawa Ieyasu's grandson, Matsudaira Yorishige, replaced Ikoma in Takamatsu. The Matsudaira family continued to rule until the Meiji Period.

In the Edo Period, Takamatsu Castle had a 3 level, 5 story main keep and about 20 yagura. It is uniquely constructed on the waterfront where it draws water from the ocean for it's moats. It is considered one of the 3 great water or waterfront castles. The castle was decomissioned in 1869 and the main keep was torn down in 1884.

There is a strong movement in Takamatsu to rebuild the castle main keep as it was, but they are facing difficulties due to a lack of quality pictures and information about its original structure. Still, the city is proceeding with plans to begin construction in 2010.

Photo Tags

Viewer Comments

Comment on this castle
  • DiegoDeManila    March 12, 2017 at 06:35 PM
    Visited 10 Jul 2015. Great site to walk around, and the newly restored tenshu base offers great views of the compound. Pity I wasn't there during high tide (the sea gate was pretty much high and dry), but as always, it gives me another excuse to go back. https://withinstrikingdistance.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/field-report-takamatsu-castle-japan-10-july-2015/
  • ART    November 06, 2016 at 01:13 PM
    When the tide comes in at Takamatsu Castle, it comes up to lap against the steps of the north gate and it goes out it leave a sandy moat behind. Truly this is one of the Edo Period’s three great water castles (Mizujiro). Visitors to Takamatsujō may enjoy boat rides around the Uchibori (inner moat) which surrounds the honmaru (main bailey). A roofed bridge provides the only access to the honmaru from the ninomaru (second bailey). The castle grounds contain gardens and the reconstructed Hiunkaku Palace. Features: - Ninomaru Go’den (second bailey palace), also called Hiunkaku, used to be much larger but now is surrounded by garden space. The palace was delapitated by 1878 and pulled down but it was reconstructed very early on in 1917 as an aristocratic guest house. - Tenshukakudai (donjon base) is a very impressive stone platform. There are lots of pictures of the old tenshukaku (donjon). It looks like its top floor bulged outward like an angular head. It’s slated for reconstruction in the future. - Tsukimi-yagura (moon-viewing turret), dating to 1676. This is a beautiful tower, although it is currently not accessible. - Mizutemon, this gate presumably was used by boats as it faces the moat: sea water comes right up to it at high tide. - Watariyagura (connecting turret), connecting the tsukimi-yagura and mizutemon. - Asahi-yagura, which I couldn’t see owing to construction work blocking my path. I might go back just to see it one day, it rises 3-storeys. - I found a reconstructed (concrete by the looks of it) bell tower turret opposite the outer moat on the sea front. - Ishigaki (stone walls). The whole site is surrounded by them and there’s even a segment which extends out from the main complex and goes under a government building which has been built around and over it (no public access). The ishigaki of the honmaru are most impressive.
  • Eric    August 21, 2016 at 11:05 PM
    Thanks Ivan. I did not know that, even though I must have waked right past it. Now I have to go again ;)
  • ART    August 12, 2016 at 08:06 AM
    I saw it, Ivan. It's a cute little reconstruction, needed a lick of paint when I was there recently. The only other reconstruction on the site is the go'den palace, re-built by an aristocrat in the pre-war period. It was not accessible the day I went unfortunately. This castle featured boat rides around the moat!
  • Ivan (joysakh)    August 11, 2016 at 05:09 PM
    There is one more yagura not on the graunds on the castle. It is Hoji (Clock) Yagura which is located left to the Kitanomaru Tsukimi Yagura, almost in the port. http://sengoku.ru/archive/assotiation/actions/101020.files/m22/IMG_2457.JPG
  • DiegoDeManila    January 24, 2016 at 07:42 PM
    @ART: I was there in July and as Eric described, the tenshu reconstruction project is little more than a plan at this point (images of what it might eventually look like are on display in the castle grounds). They've finished the restoration work on the tenshu base itself and the core has been fully excavated, revealing the foundation stones for the main supporting posts, but other than that, no further work was being carried out on the spot (at that time anyway).
  • Eric    January 20, 2016 at 11:32 PM
    ART, I don't think they have even started on construction yet and are still in the wishful thinking planning stage. The original yagura and gate have been undergoing repairs recently too but I think the yagura are now complete.
  • ART    January 03, 2016 at 09:51 AM
    Do we know when reconstruction of the tenshu will be complete?
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 17, 2014 at 10:25 PM
    New construction was going on while I was there and the photo displays of what the new works will look like were impressive . Another of the ocean fronting castles that impressed me.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 15, 2012 at 08:12 PM
    I totally agree with the notes provided by Raymond. It is a very nice place to be. For info the building standing on the tenshu-ishigaki(photo 3 on this site) is completely gone. The works are going well and i hope to see in the future this castle again with it's tenshukaku. The tsukimiyagura and mizutegomon were build many years after the watariyagura. The seawater came to this last turret in the first configuration of the castle.
  • rebolforces on My Page    June 09, 2011 at 12:22 AM
    Easy walk from station. Nice gardens. First place I've seen sluice gates for seawater for the moat. They say castle used to have the sea crashing against its walls. Currently rebuilding the walls in one area.
  • Eric    May 10, 2011 at 10:26 PM
    They've completely disassembled the stone walls to fortify the foundation and are rebuilding it using original techniques and materials. After over 400+ years of earthquakes and typhoons, etc the stone walls had shifted and become weaker to the point where they were worried about collapse. See the website for many pictures and details. http://wwb.jp/hazama/takamatsu/index.htm
  • john    May 08, 2011 at 11:34 PM
    rough translation: just a question- are they taking the stone base apart or building it up?
  • anonymous    April 30, 2011 at 07:01 AM
    Gerade sind eine Frage sie die Steinunterseite des Unterhaltes auseinandernehmend oder sie oben errichtend?
  • john    April 04, 2010 at 03:04 AM
    If the 19th century japanese could see how popular and well known their castles were, maybe they would't have dismantled so many.
  • Raymond    January 14, 2009 at 04:57 PM
    I went to Takamatsu after spending most of the day at Marugame Castle. Since I stayed overnight at Takamatsu, I was able to visit the castle at night and then again in the morning on the following day. The honmaru is closed to the public as it is undergoing restoration. My friend, who speaks better Japanese than I do, asked one of the staff on site when the restoration work will be finished. The fellow said the tenshu base will be completed in two years as stated on this website, but he was not sure about whether the tenshukaku (castle keep) will be rebuilt. The Tsukimi (Moon-Viewing) Yagura, a 3-storied tower built in 1676 (and restored in 1957) is open to the public, and you can walk around the inside. It is like walking inside a smaller version of original castle keeps like the ones at Maruoka and Marugame. Takamatsu Castle also has a nice traditional Japanese garden surrounding the Hiunkaku (Lord’s Palace.) The original Hiunkaku was demolished in 1872. The current Hiunkaku dates back to the one built in 1917. Entry to the castle grounds is 200yen, but it is free for three days at the beginning of the year (1st to 3rd January.) For people without a set of wheels, this castle is just across from JR Takamatsu Station. I did not expect much from this place after visiting Marugame Castle, but the combination of an original yagura, the nice Japanese garden, and its location by the sea make this quite a pleasant castle to visit if you are in Takamatsu. It is possible to visit both Marugame Castle and Takamatsu Castle (half an hour apart by express JR trains) in one day, but you will enjoy them more if you see them over 2 days.
  • Eric (webmaster)    May 20, 2008 at 03:25 AM
    great. thanks for that news !
  • MM    May 19, 2008 at 09:21 PM
    Well, I have good news every-body. The tenshu reconstruction is underway! If you go to www.shikoku-np.co.jp/feature/takamatsu_castle/, you can see pictures of the base being disassembled to prepare it for the reconstruction.
  • MM    March 17, 2008 at 03:36 AM
    This castle has few original buildings, so I hope that the plans for reconstructing the Tenshu come true. But, it is interesting to vist this Shiro as it is only one of three that had saltwater moats.
  • name(optional)    February 07, 2008 at 03:53 AM
    this site really help me with project
  • Julia Mule    January 31, 2008 at 03:04 AM
    Isn't it wonderful If u r doing a history project u should do it on this
Average Rating
Sign in to add this castle to your castle visits or to rate it.
  • Global rating average: 3.04 out of 5
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04
  • 3.04

Takamatsu, Kagawa Pref.
Takamatsu Castle views
Tsukimi Yagura Mizunote Gomon gate
Tsukimiyagura and Mizunotegomon Gate Tsukimiyagura and Mizunotegomon Gate
Mizunotegomon A door of the Mizunotegomon
Ninomaru and Sannnomaru stone walls Ninomaru and Sannnomaru stone walls
Sannomaru stone walls Niahimon Entrance
Kuroganemon Gate Stone Walls Ninomaru stone walls
Covered bridge Covered bridge and the Uchibori moat
Covered bridge Honmaru entrance
Chikyuu Yagura stone foundation Main keep foundation
View of the Honmaru Main keep foundation
Ninomaru and Uchibori moat Covered bridge and uchibori moat
Main keep foundation Main keep foundation, uchibori moat
Main keep foundation, honmaru stone walls and uchibori mot Stone walls of the Taikomon Gate
Uzumimon Ushitora Yagura seen through the Taikomon gate
Stone walls of the Sannomaru Bailey low stone wall
Kitanomaru stone walls Sannomaru stone walls with mushahashiri
Ren Yagura foundation Tsukimi Yagura
Shika Yagura foundation Ushitora Yagura Foundation
Nakabori moat Asahi Gate
Asahi Gate Ushitora Yagura
Ushitora Yagura Ushitora Yagura