Echizen Katsuyama Castle




Echizen Katsuyama Castle (Echizen Katsuyama-jo) was built in 1579 by the daimyo Shibata Katsuyasu. It changed hands frequently due to war. As Japan entered the era when the entire country was ruled by the Tokugawa family, the daimyo Ogasawara Nobutoki raised the castle on the pretext of restoring an old castle. Due to fires, it was never completed. The existing five-tiered, six-storied castle tower was built in a different place in 1992. For the stone wall, 6,500 large rocks were used. The castle houses a museum which exhibits tools used by the military commanders who governed every region of the country until the middle of the 18th century, and samurai arms such as swords and guns.(found at:

Visit Notes

Photos and history donated by Furinkazan. This is a very big castle with strange looking stone walls(dragons are on every side of the castle.) It has 6 floors. You begin the tour in the castle on the last which is an observation deck. Since it is a plaincastle, you have a splendid view in every direction. On the fifth are some paintings about the history of Katsuyama-city(only in Japanese)and other observation posts. On the fourth is an exibition of local artists(the castle is used as an exhibition hall).

The 3rd floor is the most interesting for the samurai-fans. It has some really nice armors and weapons, aswell as other artifacts on display. On the second are paintings(modern art), which i appreciated. On the first floor is the entrance and some information about the rebuilding of this castle. From the observation decks, you can easily see the Echizen Daibutsudô(great Buddha of Echizenhall). After the castle i went there and from the pagoda you can take a nice picture with the Daibutsudô in the foreground and the castle behind. To get at Katsuyama i took a train at Fukui on the EchizenRailway Katsuyama Eiheiji Line(next to JR Fukui station). The terminus is Katsuyama. From the station in Kastuyama you can see the castle. It is about 4km to it. Since the weather was beautiful i walked to it.


Castle Profile
English Name Echizen Katsuyama Castle
Japanese Name 越前勝山城
Founder Shibata Katsuyasu
Year Founded 1579
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure concrete
Year Reconstructed 1989-92 (concrete)
Features main keep, gates, turrets, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Katsuyama Sta. (Eiheiji Line, Echizen Railway)
Visitor Information 500 yen, Closed Wednesdays, Dec. 28-31
Time Required
Location Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 2' 34", 136° 31' 14"
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Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Contributor Furinkazan
Visits Viewer Donated
Added to Jcastle 2010

(6 votes)
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8 months ago
Score 1++

I edit my earlier comment to say that the original site of the castle located in town appears to be also flatland. Not far from this monster mock reconstruction is a gigantic temple also built by Tada. I wrote a poem about it:

In Katsuyama did Tada-san decree,

a pleasure dome be built for all to see.

Sat within an incense-perfumed hall,

Was Great Buddha some 17 meters tall,

keeping council with five-score bodhisattva,

beneath- sky-cleft! – the five-storey pagoda.

(it's a little play on Coleridge)


20 months ago
Score 1++

Tada-san was a rich and successful businessman from Katsuyama, a taxi tycoon. Wanting to give back to the community which had given so much to him, he funded the building of the castle, a concrete replica, which serves as a museum. The five-tiered, six-storied flatland castle has to it a fantastical flourish with dragon shapes sculpted upon its stone base. The interior is huge, and exhibitions do not want for space. Much space is given over to vacant seating areas, business meetings or seminars could probably be held here if ever the need arose.

Some people say Tada was showing off. The Tenshukaku is Japan's tallest but the castle has little historical basis. It's like something out of a disney film, a work of fantasy or imagination. The original castle was a hilltop castle too, not a plains castle.


30 months ago
Score 0++
Unfortunately, this is not a faithful reproduction. The builder didn't even pretend to rebuild the original, and the current \castle"sits on a different location from the original. The only saving points are the weapons armor and art displayed and the incredible view from the top floor. The dinosaur museum just north of this is far more interesting"


98 months ago
Score 0++
Indeed, that has been commented on by Japanese as well. This main keep is also the tallest main keep in Japan. For the roughly 7 Billion Yen (~70 million USD) they spent on it they could have made something really special if they were faithful to the original design, technique and materials. The story goes that it was sponsored by a local person who became successful in business and wanted to give back something to the community by making a popular tourist destination. You be the judge...


98 months ago
Score 0++

It does make me cringe a little. And, does anyone else notice the Himeji-ness of it.

In any case, as interesting addition.