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 the Utoyagura at Kumamoto Castle and Nohara Yagura at Iyo Matsuyama Castle and the Fushimi Yagura at Fukuyama Castle. See the Main keep page for more details about these structure types.


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.

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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.

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Gosankai Yagura (御三階櫓)

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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.

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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.

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Tamonyagura (多聞櫓)

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.

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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. Honshouji Castle
  28. Hotta no Saku
  29. Iga Ueno Castle
  30. Ikeda Castle
  31. Imabari Castle
  32. Ina Castle
  33. Innoshima Suigun castle
  34. Inuyama Castle
  35. Iwamura Castle
  36. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  37. Izu Nagahama Castle
  38. Izushi Castle
  39. Kakegawa Castle
  40. Kameyama Castle
  41. Kaminoyama Castle
  42. Kanazawa Castle
  43. Kasama Castle
  44. Kikuchi Castle
  45. Kishiwada Castle
  46. Kochi Castle
  47. Kofu Castle
  48. Koiwatake Castle
  49. Kokura Castle
  50. Komoro Castle
  51. Koromo Castle
  52. Koyama Castle
  53. Kubota Castle
  54. Kumamoto Castle
  55. Kushima Castle
  56. Kuwana Castle
  57. Marugame Castle
  58. Matsue Castle
  59. Matsumae Castle
  60. Matsumoto Castle
  61. Matsushiro Castle
  62. Minakuchi Castle
  63. Nagoya Castle
  64. Nakatsu Castle
  65. Nihonmatsu Castle
  66. Nijo Castle
  67. Nishio Castle
  68. Numata Castle
  69. Odawara Castle
  70. Ogaki Castle
  71. Oguchi Castle
  72. Ogurayama Castle
  73. Okayama Castle
  74. Omori Castle
  75. Osaka Castle
  76. Oshi Castle
  77. Otaki Castle
  78. Owari Ohno Castle
  79. Ozu Castle
  80. Sakasai Castle
  81. Sannohe Castle
  82. Sekiyado Castle
  83. Sendai Castle
  84. Shibata Castle
  85. Shimabara Castle
  86. Shirakawa Castle
  87. Shiroishi Castle
  88. Shiwa Castle
  89. Sonobe Castle
  90. Sunpu Castle
  91. Tahara Castle
  92. Takamatsu Castle
  93. Takane Castle
  94. Takasaki Castle
  95. Takashima Castle
  96. Takato Castle
  97. Tanabe Castle
  98. Tanaka Castle
  99. Tatsuno Castle
  100. Tatsuoka Castle
  101. Tojo Castle
  102. Tomioka Castle
  103. Toyama Castle
  104. Tsu Castle
  105. Tsuchiura Castle
  106. Tsuyama Castle
  107. Ueda Castle
  108. Usuki Castle
  109. Utsunomiya Castle
  110. Uwajima Castle
  111. Wakayama Castle
  112. Yamagata Castle
  113. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  114. Yoshida Castle
  115. Yoshinogari
  116. Zeze Castle
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