Difference between revisions of "Kanazawa Castle Komatsu Castle and Ritsuunkyo (Takeda Castle)"

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Revision as of 11:53, 17 January 2021

Kanazawa Castle, Komatsu Castle, and Ritsuunkyo (Takeda Castle)

2021/01/17


I finally updated Kanazawa Castle from my recent visit and added/replaced many of the Komatsu Castle and Terashima Residence photos. As much as I like to visit great castles like Kanazawa Castle and take hundreds of photos, it is very time consuming to sort and select the photos to post ! This time I put all the photos into sub-albums so you can select what you'd like to see and look deeper. All the photos appear on the map too so you may also explore from there.

While reviewing some other castle profiles, I also realized that my album of photos from the the Ritsuunkyo Park at Takeda Castle was missing, so I've uploaded those again. It may have been misplaced when I migrated from the old site, since this sub-album was done in a different way at the time. While I was at it, I uploaded higher resolution versions of all the photos and updated the Visit Notes section for this great castle.


Kanazawa Castle / 金沢城

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This is an amazing castle. It has only three original structures; the Ishikawamon Gate, Sanjikken Yagura, and the Tsurumaru Storehouse, but the vast stone walls, excellent reconstructions, extant samurai homes, and one of the most famous gardens in Japan, make it a 5 Star must-see site for anyone. After three visits I think I can comfortably say that I've seen more than 90% of this castle, but I know that I still missed at least one samurai home and some of the Sogamae defense ruins. Depending on how throughly you want to tour this castle you could easily spend 3 or more days in Kanazawa just for the castle and related sites!
Komatsu Castle / 小松城

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The only remnants of this once sprawling castle are the main keep foundation and a portion of the stone wall of a moat nearby. A small yakuimon from the original castle now stands on the grounds of a nearby elementary school and a yaguramon was also repurposed to use as the gate for the Raishoji Temple. The castle's honmaru is now a park, the ninomaru (second bailey) is now a high school, and the sannomaru (third bailey) is now the Rojo Park. Other baileys which existed are now built over with residential sprawl. The original profile is from ART with updated photos by Eric.
Takeda Castle / 竹田城

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This is a truly impressive castle. Despite being only ruins; the location, stone walls, design, and view easily make it worth 4 stars. It is amazing how they built such extensive stone walls on top of the mountain. There are few trains running to Takeda and you'll want at least 90 minutes at the castle (depending on how much you take pictures) so plan accordingly. At the foot of the mountain are some temples with walls that look similar to castle walls. This temple and shrine complex was actually established as a defense for the castle. Across the valley there is also the Ritsuunkyo park with great views of the castle from afar. Refer to the Ritsuunkyo gallery below for more details.

Takeda Castle has suffered from over tourism and becoming too popular over the last 10 years. Too many visitors compacted the ground, wore away the topsoil and made it prone to erosion and weakening the stone walls. The site has been closed completely or in part at different times for repairs. It all started from a book of photographs and then an early Google maps TV commercial and a JR campaign that featured fantastic views of the castle "in the clouds". The first time I visited there were multiple hiking trails to the top and no one around. In fact, I was told by another veteran castle fan and longtime friend (Shirofan) to only visit in the late autumn and winter or it would be too weedy to see the stonework well! The second time, popularity had increased dramatically and they had closed all the trails but one and were limiting the number of people on the site at one time. In recent years, two of the original trails have been reopened but there are designated walking paths around the site. You are no longer free to roam the site as you please and the Hanayashiki Bailey is also now closed.

Takeda Castle also has the distinction of being the only castle where the town has asked me to remove some information (from my original first visit). They did not want people hunting down the now closed off trails to climb the mountain or to see the off limits areas with stonework!
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