From Jcastle.info

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.


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.


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. Damine Castle
  11. Echizen Katsuyama Castle
  12. Echizen Ohno Castle
  13. Edo Castle
  14. Fujita Castle
  15. Fukuchiyama Castle
  16. Fukuyama Castle
  17. Funai Castle
  18. Fushimi Castle
  19. Gujo Hachiman Castle
  20. Haga Castle
  21. Hanaoka Castle (Saku)
  22. Hikone Castle
  23. Himeji Castle
  24. Hirado Castle
  25. Hirosaki Castle
  26. Hiroshima Castle
  27. Hirota Castle
  28. Hitomoshi Castle (Saku)
  29. Hitoyoshi Castle
  30. Honshouji Castle
  31. Hotta no Saku
  32. Iga Ueno Castle
  33. Iji Castle
  34. Ikeda Castle
  35. Imabari Castle
  36. Ina Castle
  37. Innoshima Suigun Castle
  38. Inuyama Castle
  39. Iouji Fort
  40. Iroganeyama Fort
  41. Iwamura Castle
  42. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  43. Izu Nagahama Castle
  44. Izushi Castle
  45. Kakegawa Castle
  46. Kameyama Castle
  47. Kaminoyama Castle
  48. Kanazawa Castle
  49. Kasama Castle
  50. Kashima Castle (Hizen)
  51. Kikuchi Castle
  52. Kishiwada Castle
  53. Kochi Castle
  54. Kofu Castle
  55. Koiwatake Castle
  56. Kokura Castle
  57. Kokuzousan Noroshidai
  58. Komoro Castle
  59. Koromo Castle
  60. Kosema Castle
  61. Koyama Castle
  62. Kubota Castle
  63. Kumamoto Castle
  64. Kushima Castle
  65. Kuwana Castle
  66. Marugame Castle
  67. Matsue Castle
  68. Matsumae Castle
  69. Matsumoto Castle
  70. Matsushiro Castle
  71. Minakuchi Castle
  72. Mito Castle
  73. Monjuyama Castle
  74. Nagaoka Castle
  75. Nagoya Castle
  76. Nakatsu Castle
  77. Nakayama Fort (Mikawa)
  78. Nihonmatsu Castle
  79. Nijo Castle
  80. Nishio Castle
  81. Numata Castle
  82. Odawara Castle
  83. Ogaki Castle
  84. Oguchi Castle
  85. Ogurayama Castle
  86. Ohmori Castle
  87. Ohno Castle (Owari)
  88. Okayama Castle
  89. Osaka Castle
  90. Oshi Castle
  91. Otaki Castle
  92. Ozu Castle
  93. Sakasai Castle
  94. Sannohe Castle
  95. Seki Castle (Mino)
  96. Sekiyado Castle
  97. Sendai Castle
  98. Shibata Castle
  99. Shimabara Castle
  100. Shirakawa Castle
  101. Shiroishi Castle
  102. Shiwa Castle
  103. Sonobe Castle
  104. Sunpu Castle
  105. Tahara Castle
  106. Takamatsu Castle
  107. Takane Castle
  108. Takasaki Castle
  109. Takashima Castle
  110. Takato Castle
  111. Tanabe Castle
  112. Tanaka Castle
  113. Tatsuno Castle
  114. Tatsuoka Castle
  115. Tojo Castle
  116. Tomioka Castle
  117. Toyama Castle
  118. Tsu Castle
  119. Tsuchiura Castle
  120. Tsuyama Castle
  121. Ueda Castle
  122. Usuki Castle
  123. Utsunomiya Castle
  124. Uwajima Castle
  125. Wakayama Castle
  126. Yaga Castle (Tanba)
  127. Yamagata Castle
  128. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  129. Yoshida Castle
  130. Yoshinogari
  131. Yumurayama Castle
  132. Zeze Castle
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