Ikoma Chikamasa was stationed in Takamatsu by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1587. He started building the castle in 1588 and it was completed in 1590. Four generations of Ikoma ruled Takamatsu until the 11 year old Takatoshi was re-stationed to the remote Dewa Province in Northeastern Japan in 1639 with greatly reduced lands. This was a punishment for conflicts caused by the Ikoma clan and their retainers. Tokugawa Ieyasu's grandson, Matsudaira Yorishige, replaced Ikoma in Takamatsu. The Matsudaira family continued to rule until the Meiji Period.
In the Edo Period, Takamatsu Castle had a 3 level, 5 story main keep and about 20 yagura. It is uniquely constructed on the waterfront where it draws water from the ocean for it's moats. It is considered one of the 3 great water or waterfront castles. The castle was decomissioned in 1869 and the main keep was torn down in 1884.
There is a strong movement in Takamatsu to rebuild the castle main keep as it was, but they are facing difficulties due to a lack of quality pictures and information about its original structure. At one point there was a reward for old photos or information that would help to rebuild it accurately. Still, the city was proceeding with plans for construction as of my 2016 visit regardless of information obtained.
Takamatsu Castle would have been really interesting to visit in the Edo Period before much of the ocean front was filled in to make more real estate. At high tide it would have looked like it was literally a floating fortress. If you visit today the only vestige of those times is the Mizunotegomon Gate next to the Tsukimi Yagura. At high tide water should come right up to the edge of the gate doors. I did lookup high tide times in advance but I decided to spend my afternoon at Marugame Castle instead which was a good choice because I needed much more time than I expected at Marugame. Otherwise, this is a beautiful castle with a lot more stonework and nicely water filled moats than I had expected. I'll have to visit again once all the construction is done.
|English Name||Takamatsu Castle|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Kitanomaru Tsukimi Yagura, Kitanomaru Watariyagura, Ushitora Yagura, Kitanomaru Mizute Gomon|
|Features||gates, turrets, bridges, palace, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Takamatsu Sta. (Yosan Line); 10 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Open times vary by season. The west gate is open as early as long as 5:30-19:00 in the summer, but 7:00-15:00 in January. Closed Dec 29-31. 200 yen.|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 21' 1.33" N, 134° 3' 5.87" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2006|
|Admin Year Visited||2016|
|Admin Visits||Feb 28, 2016|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Malcolm Fairman Photography - Takamatsu Castle|