Revision as of 23:17, 20 April 2021 by Eric (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Gates / 門

This is a subtype of Features

There are many different types of gates, but the basic construction is the same for all. Two columns (kagamibashira) that hold the gate doors are connected by a crossbeam (kabuki) across the top. Usually, the columns are joined to support pillars (hikaebashira) behind them to help prevent the gate from being pushed over backwards. The rest of the gate construction is developed from the gate's position, function and defensive needs.

Gates were often strategically positioned in the walls of each bailey so that anyone who attempts to enter the castle must zig zag back and forth to reach the inner grounds and the main keep. Gates were often further fortified by bolting metal plates over them for strength.


Yaguramon Gates (yaguramon, yagura gates) are gates with a watchtower or turret atop the gatehouse. These are often large, strong and impressive looking gates. They are frequently used as the inner gate of a masugata and for other important entrance points. Yaguramon were were a safe place to observe the outside and they could be used as defensive platforms with defenders in the top. They were equipped with loopholes and windows to shoot from and the floor in front of the gate could be opened like a rock chute to attack anyone at the doors below. There are 2 types of yaguramon. Watariyagura style uses a watariyagura to span from one stone wall across the gate to another stone wall. The other style is basically a free standing yagura with a gate built into the first floor.

Watariyagura Style

Nijo5.jpg Edo7.jpg Marugame5.jpg Matsuyama27.jpg

Free Standing Yagura Gates

Kochi8.jpg Hirosaki6.jpg Hirosaki12.jpg Tsuchiura8.jpg

Yakuimon (薬医門)

A gate where one roof covers both the main front pillars (kagamibashira) and the rear support pillars (hikaebashira). The roof was necessarily large to cover all four pillars. This is an older style gate that was eventually replaced by Koraimon gates (see below), because it was impractical for defense. The large roof blocked the defenders vision of the outside and it actually shielded any attackers at the doors. There are very few extant examples of yakuimon gates at castles today. The second picture below is an inside view of the gate in the first picture so that you can get a better view of the structure of Yakuimon gates compared to Koraimon gates. The picture from Kakunodate Castle shows a smaller yakuimon in front of a samurai home.

Mito11.jpg Ashikaga7.jpg Kofu10.jpg Marugame63.jpg Obatajinya8.jpg

Koraimon (高麗門)

The front pillars and doors are covered with one small roof and the rear support pillars and support beams are each covered by a separate roof on either side at right angles to the main roof over the front pillars. This type of gate is often used as the outer gate of a masugata. There are two types of Koraimon. The roof of the older style is nearly even with the surrounding walls, while the newer style gate is taller so the roof is up higher than the surrounding walls.

Older Style Koraimon

Nagoya13.jpg Nagoya14.jpg

Newer Style Koraimon

Edo13.jpg Edo76.jpg Matsumoto10.jpg Himeji29.jpg

Munamon (棟門€)

Munamon is a gate with two main pillars covered by a roof. It is similar to the koraimon, but lacks the extra support pillars in the rear making it relatively unstable. It is often wedged in between stone or earthen walls to gain extra support.

Himeji28.jpg Bitchu11.jpg

Tonashimon (戸無し門)

As the name implies, tonashimon is literally a gate with no doors. The only extant gate of this type that I know of is at Iyo Matsuyama Castle. It is basically a koriamon gate with no doors. It is said that this gate was built here atop a long slope at the front of a hairpin curve to trick attackers into thinking it would be an easy way into the castle. Once they pass through the gate and around the curve they are actually met with a large heavily fortified gate.


Kabukimon (冠木門)

This is a gate with only the two front vertical pillars and the one horizontal cross beam. It has doors but no roof. This gate is a formality only and has little or no defensive value.

Ikeda3.jpg Nanbata6.jpg Kakegawa4.jpg

Heijuumon (塀重門)

A heijuumon gate takes the kabukimon a step further and eliminates the cross beam between the two front pillars.


Nagayamon (長屋門)

This is where a gate is passed through a section of a long warehouse. Rooms were easily built on either side of the gate and it was often used as a guardhouse around samurai homes.

Yonago18.jpg Nijo15.jpg Iwamura7.jpg

Karamon (唐門)

An ornate gate with a karahafu style roof. A karahafu is a gable chracterized by the rounded ridge in the center. There are several surviving karamon that were moved from castles to temples, but the only one that I know of that is at a castle is the famous gate from Nijo Castle.

Nijo2.jpg Nijo3.jpg 150px

Uzumimon (埋門€)

Uzumimon literally means buried gate. There are two types of uzumimon. In one type, a hole is literally cut through the middle of a completed stone wall. In the second type, when the stone walls are constructed a narrow gap is left for a gate. Then the defensive wall atop the stone wall foundation is run across the gate evenly with the rest. An uzumimon was often used as an emergency exit or as a rear entrance to the castle.

Nagoya15.jpg Odawara15.jpg Himeji14.jpg Matsushiro12.jpg


A masugata is a compound gate made up of 2 gates, most commonly a koraimon on the outside and a yaguramon on the inside. The 2 gates are placed at right angles and joined by walls to create a square enclosure. Any enemy who attempts to enter the castle will be trapped in the box while it tries to breach the strong inner gate. The trapped enemy is then vulnerable to attack from the defenders inside the castle, and lining the walls above.

Edo84.jpg Matsumoto10.jpg Kofu14.jpg Sunpu5.jpg


Castles with Gates
  1. Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
  2. Akasaka Jin'ya
  3. Akashi Castle
  4. Akita Castle
  5. Akizuki Castle
  6. Ako Castle
  7. Amagajo
  8. Annaka Castle
  9. Aoyagi Castle
  10. Asakura Yakata
  11. Ashikagashi Yakata
  12. Ashinoya Jin'ya
  13. Asuke Castle
  14. Baba Yashiki
  15. Baba Yashiki (Kai)
  16. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  17. Chinen Castle
  18. Damine Castle
  19. Echizen Katsuyama Castle
  20. Echizen Ohno Castle
  21. Edo Castle
  22. Ema Yakata
  23. Fuchu Castle (Hitachi)
  24. Fukuchiyama Castle
  25. Fukui Castle
  26. Fukuyama Castle
  27. Funai Castle
  28. Funaoka Castle
  29. Fushimi Castle
  30. Gujo Hachiman Castle
  31. Hachigata Castle
  32. Hachinohe Castle
  33. Hagi Castle
  34. Hamada Castle
  35. Hamamatsu Castle
  36. Hanamaki Castle
  37. Hatta Yashiki
  38. Hekirichi Jinya
  39. Hikone Castle
  40. Himeji Castle
  41. Hirado Castle
  42. Hirosaki Castle
  43. Hiroshima Castle
  44. Hitoyoshi Castle
  45. Honshouji Castle
  46. Hoshina Yakata
  47. Hotta no Saku
  48. Ibaraki Castle
  49. Ichijodani Castle
  50. Ide Yakata
  51. Iga Ueno Castle
  52. Iida Castle
  53. Iiyama Castle
  54. Ijiri Yashiki
  55. Ikeda Castle
  56. Imabari Castle
  57. Inatsuke Castle
  58. Innoshima Suigun Castle
  59. Inuyama Castle
  60. Isawa Jin'ya
  61. Itoi Jin'ya
  62. Iwaki Taira Castle
  63. Iwakuni Castle
  64. Iwamura Castle
  65. Iwatsuki Castle
  66. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  67. Izu Nagahama Castle
  68. Izuki Jin'ya
  69. Izumi Jin'ya
  70. Izushi Castle
  71. Kaibara Jinya
  72. Kakegawa Castle
  73. Kakizaki Castle
  74. Kameda Castle
  75. Kaminoyama Castle
  76. Kamioka Castle
  77. Kanazawa Castle
  78. Kanzou Yashiki
  79. Kasama Castle
  80. Kashima Castle (Hizen)
  81. Kawajiri Castle
  82. Kawanoe Castle
  83. Kinojo
  84. Kinowa Castle
  85. Kishiwada Castle
  86. Kitaaranami Fort
  87. Kitamura Castle (Omi)
  88. Kiyosu Castle
  89. Kochi Castle
  90. Kofu Castle
  91. Koga Castle
  92. Koiwatake Castle
  93. Komatsu Castle
  94. Komono Castle
  95. Komoro Castle
  96. Kubota Castle
  97. Kumamoto Castle
  98. Kushima Castle
  99. Marugame Castle
  100. Matsuda Yakata
  101. Matsue Castle
  102. Matsumae Castle
  103. Matsumoto Castle
  104. Matsushiro Castle
  105. Mibu Castle
  106. Miharu Castle
  107. Minakuchi Castle
  108. Minokubi Castle
  109. Minowa Castle
  110. Mito Castle
  111. Mizusawa Castle
  112. Momose Jin'ya
  113. Nabari Jinya
  114. Nagahama Castle
  115. Nagahara Castle
  116. Nagata Jin'ya
  117. Nagoya Castle
  118. Nanbata Castle
  119. Nanokaichi Jin'ya
  120. Natsukawa Castle
  121. Ne Castle
  122. Nijo Castle
  123. Nikaidou Yakata
  124. Nishikawa Yashiki (Kai)
  125. Nishio Castle
  126. Nishiohhira Jin'ya
  127. Nobeoka Castle
  128. Obata Jin'ya
  129. Obi Castle
  130. Ochiai Yashiki
  131. Odawara Castle
  132. Ogaki Castle
  133. Oguchi Castle
  134. Oh'uchi Yakata
  135. Ohmine Castle
  136. Ohmori Daikansho
  137. Ohno Castle (Owari)
  138. Oka Castle
  139. Okayama Castle
  140. Okutono Jin'ya
  141. Omono Castle
  142. Osaka Castle
  143. Oshi Castle
  144. Ota Castle
  145. Otaki Castle
  146. Ozu Castle
  147. Saga Castle
  148. Sagaki Jin'ya
  149. Sakasai Castle
  150. Sannohe Castle
  151. Saraki Jin'ya
  152. Sekiyado Castle
  153. Shibata Castle
  154. Shichinohe Castle
  155. Shigehara Jin'ya
  156. Shimosaka Yakata
  157. Shirakawa Castle
  158. Shiroishi Castle
  159. Shishido Jin'ya
  160. Shiwa Castle
  161. Shuri Castle
  162. Sonobe Castle
  163. Souma Nakamura Castle
  164. Suibara Daikansho
  165. Sunpu Castle
  166. Suwa Ohhouri Yakata
  167. Suwahara Castle
  168. Suzaka Jin'ya
  169. Tahara Castle
  170. Takamatsu Castle
  171. Takamuro Yashiki
  172. Takane Castle
  173. Takasaki Castle
  174. Takashima Castle
  175. Takato Castle
  176. Takatsuki Castle
  177. Takeda Yakata (Ibaraki)
  178. Takenaka Jinya
  179. Tamaru Castle
  180. Tanabe Castle
  181. Tanabe Castle (Wakayama)
  182. Tanagura Castle
  183. Tanaka Castle
  184. Tatebayashi Castle
  185. Tatsuno Castle
  186. Tatsuoka Castle
  187. Todoroki Yashiki
  188. Tojo Castle
  189. Tokushima Castle
  190. Tomioka Castle
  191. Torigoe Castle
  192. Tottori Castle
  193. Toyama Castle
  194. Toyooka Jinya
  195. Tsu Castle
  196. Tsuchiura Castle
  197. Tsuruga Castle
  198. Tsurugaoka Castle
  199. Ueda Castle
  200. Ueno Yashiki
  201. Usuki Castle
  202. Uwajima Castle
  203. Wakayama Castle
  204. Yamagata Castle
  205. Yamaguchi Castle
  206. Yamamoto Jin'ya
  207. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  208. Yatsushiro Yashiki
  209. Yoita Jin'ya
  210. Yuzawa Castle
  211. Yuzuki Castle
  212. Zeze Castle
Loading map...