Turrets

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Turrets (Yagura) / 櫓

This is a subtype of Features

The Japanese term yagura literally means a storehouse (kura) for arrows (ya), but yagura were used to store all manner of weapons, food and supplies. Yagura were not just storehouses, but vital defensive platforms and lookout towers that were placed at strategic locations throughout the castle. Most corners of a bailey had a yagura, often called a sumi yagura (corner yagura). These corners provided a wide field of view and two sides for flanking fire. The corner yagura also protected the vulnerable corners of stone walls which were much easier to climb than the straight sheer sides.


Naming:

You can sometimes guess what was stored in a yagura or its purpose from the name: Teppo Yagura (guns), Hata Yagura (flags), Yari Yagura (spears), Shio Yagura (salt), among many others. There were also other special function yagura such as Taiko Yagura which kept a drum to sound out the time, Tsukimi Yagura for viewing the moon, and Ido Yagura for housing a well. Sumi Yagura (corner yagura) often had special naming conventions too. They were named according to the 12 signs of the zodiac as placed on the face of a clock. So with north at 12 o'clock a northwest yagura was called Ushitora Yagura, a southeast yagura was Tatsumi Yagura, southwest was Hitsujisaru Yagura and Northwest was Inui Yagura.


Structure:

Yagura were mostly built in the sotogata style, with the same characteristics of many main keep. Sotogata have a square base with each level a size smaller than the lower one. There are few extant yagura in the borogata style, but some examples are: <a href="/photos/view/420-Kumamoto-Castle">Utoyagura</a> (Kumamoto Castle), Nohara Yagura (Iyo Matsuyama Castle) and the <a href="/photos/view/453-Fukuyama-Castle">Fushimi Yagura</a> of Fukuyama Castle. See the <a href="/resources/view/15-Donjon">main keep page</a> for more details about these structure types.

<a href="http://media.jcastle.info/images/resource/yagura/yagura1.jpg" rel="lightbox-d" title="display at Utsunomiya Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/resource/yagura/yagura1s.jpg"></a>Display at Utsunomiya Castle


Seiroyagura (井楼櫓)

Seiroyagura is one of the earlier forms of yagura. It is a simple structure made from wooden beams in a square. They were used as watchtowers in earlier castles and were erected on the battlefield to provide commanders with a better view.

<a href="/photos/view/804-Sakasai-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/sakasai/sakasai2-h.jpg" />Sakasai Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/829-Arato-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/arato/arato7-h.jpg" />Arato Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/1157-Takane-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/takane/takane4-h.jpg" />Takane Castle</a>


3 level yagura (三重櫓)

main keeps are basically really big yagura that evolved to 3 or more levels. Especially, in eastern Japan many castles built a large 3 level yagura in place of a main keep. Such main keep were also called gosankai yagura. The main keep of Hirosaki Castle and Marugame Castle are actually 3 level yagura. At Edo Castle, the 3 level Fujimi Yagura was used in place of the main keep after it burned down too.

Typical 3 level yagura
<a href="/castle/profile/35-Edo-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/edo/edo1-h.jpg" />Edo Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/483-Takamatsu-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/takamatsu/takamatsu4-h.jpg" />Takamatsu Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/453-Fukuyama-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/fukuyama/fukuyama14-h.jpg" />Fukuyama Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/343-Nagoya-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/nagoya/nagoya7-h.jpg" />Nagoya Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/253-Hikone-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/hikone/hikone9-h.jpg" />Hikone Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/1283-Hirosaki-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/hirosaki/hirosaki9-h.jpg" />Hirosaki Castle</a>
Gosankai Yagura
<a href="/castle/profile/43-Hirosaki-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/hirosaki/hirosaki13-h.jpg" />Hirosaki Castle</a> <a href="/castle/profile/48-Kakegawa-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/kakegawa/kakegawa3-h.jpg" />Kakegawa Castle</a> <a href="/castle/profile/65-Shiroishi-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/shiroishi/shiroishi1-h.jpg" />Shiroishi Castle</a> <a href="/castle/profile/64-Shirakawa-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/shirakawa/shirakawa9-h.jpg" />Shirakawa Castle</a>


2 Level Yagura (二重櫓)

2 level yagura is the most typical yagura type and there are many surviving examples throughout the country. You see lots of unique shapes and uses for these yagura.

<a href="/photos/view/232-Edo-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/edo/edo3-h.jpg" />Edo Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/359-Nijo-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/nijo/nijo4-h.jpg" />Nijo Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/339-Nagoya-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/nagoya/nagoya3-h.jpg" />Nagoya Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/220-Iyo-Matsuyama-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/matsuyama/matsuyama6-h.jpg" />Iyo Matsuyama Castle</a>

1 level yagura

Hirayagura (平櫓)

This is the simplest yagura type. It's too short to be used as a lookout tower and not usually used as a sumiyagura. Hirayagura is most frequently used on the edge of an outer bailey like a sannomaru bailey that has no dirt walls. It is also frequently used as a connecting yagura to join gates, larger yagura or main keep.

Hirayagura
<a href="/photos/view/813-sakasai-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/sakasai/sakasai14-h.jpg" />Sakasai Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/328-Matsumoto-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/matsumoto/matsumoto7-h.jpg" />Matsumoto Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/799-Iyo-Matsuyama-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/matsuyama/matsuyama13-h.jpg" />Matsuyama Castle</a>

Tamonyagura (多門櫓)

Tamonyagura is a hirayagura that has been stretched out. It can be used in place of dirt walls atop moats and embankments. Tamonyagura are often found connected to corner sumiyagura or main keep. They can be used to store goods, but also function as a very strong defensive platform.

Tamonyagura
<a href="/photos/view/246-Hikone-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/hikone/hikone2-h.jpg" />Hikone Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/220-Iyo-Matsuyama-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/matsuyama/matsuyama6-h.jpg" />Iyo Matsuyama Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/469-Fukuoka-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/fukuoka/fukuoka8-h.jpg" />Fukuoka Castle</a> <a href="/photos/view/208-Himeji-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/himeji/himeji20-h.jpg" />Himeji Castle</a>

Castles with Turrets (Yagura)

  1. Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
  2. Akashi Castle
  3. Ako Castle
  4. Akozu Castle
  5. Amagajo
  6. Amagasaki Castle
  7. Aoyagi Castle
  8. Asuke Castle
  9. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  10. Echizen Katsuyama Castle
  11. Echizen Ohno Castle
  12. Edo Castle
  13. Fujita Castle
  14. Fukuchiyama Castle
  15. Fukuyama Castle
  16. Funai Castle
  17. Fushimi Castle
  18. Gujo Hachiman Castle
  19. Haga Castle
  20. Hikone Castle
  21. Himeji Castle
  22. Hirado Castle
  23. Hirosaki Castle
  24. Hiroshima Castle
  25. Hitoyoshi Castle
  26. Hizen Kashima Castle
  27. Hotta no Saku
  28. Iga Ueno Castle
  29. Ikeda Castle
  30. Imabari Castle
  31. Innoshima Suigun castle
  32. Inuyama Castle
  33. Iwamura Castle
  34. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  35. Izu Nagahama Castle
  36. Izushi Castle
  37. Kakegawa Castle
  38. Kameyama Castle
  39. Kaminoyama Castle
  40. Kanazawa Castle
  41. Kasama Castle
  42. Kikuchi Castle
  43. Kishiwada Castle
  44. Kochi Castle
  45. Kofu Castle
  46. Kokura Castle
  47. Komoro Castle
  48. Koromo Castle
  49. Koyama Castle
  50. Kubota Castle
  51. Kumamoto Castle
  52. Kushima Castle
  53. Kuwana Castle
  54. Marugame Castle
  55. Matsue Castle
  56. Matsumae Castle
  57. Matsumoto Castle
  58. Matsushiro Castle
  59. Minakuchi Castle
  60. Nagoya Castle
  61. Nakatsu Castle
  62. Nihonmatsu Castle
  63. Nijo Castle
  64. Nishio Castle
  65. Numata Castle
  66. Odawara Castle
  67. Ogaki Castle
  68. Oguchi Castle
  69. Okayama Castle
  70. Omori Castle
  71. Osaka Castle
  72. Oshi Castle
  73. Otaki Castle
  74. Owari Ohno Castle
  75. Ozu Castle
  76. Sakasai Castle
  77. Sannohe Castle
  78. Sekiyado Castle
  79. Sendai Castle
  80. Shibata Castle
  81. Shimabara Castle
  82. Shirakawa Castle
  83. Shiroishi Castle
  84. Shiwa Castle
  85. Sonobe Castle
  86. Sunpu Castle
  87. Tahara Castle
  88. Takamatsu Castle
  89. Takane Castle
  90. Takasaki Castle
  91. Takashima Castle
  92. Takato Castle
  93. Tanabe Castle
  94. Tanaka Castle
  95. Tatsuno Castle
  96. Tatsuoka Castle
  97. Tojo Castle
  98. Tokiwa Castle
  99. Tomioka Castle
  100. Toyama Castle
  101. Tsu Castle
  102. Tsuchiura Castle
  103. Tsuyama Castle
  104. Ueda Castle
  105. Usuki Castle
  106. Utsunomiya Castle
  107. Uwajima Castle
  108. Wakayama Castle
  109. Yamagata Castle
  110. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  111. Yoshinogari
  112. Zeze Castle
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