The ranking of castles that are often searched on the Internet

22.February.2018 | SPOT

Hankyu Kotsusha released the ranking of Japanese castles that are often searched on the Internet.

お城

Thinking about the history of a castle by viewing the castle keep, stone walls, well and the background view of the castle is very fun. Japanese castles which can be enjoyed in every season are popular among many people. Presentations using latest technologies such as AR, VR and projection mapping and various events are held at many castles.

 

In this article, I will introduce to you the most popular castles of Japan.

姫路城

 

1st place – Himeji Castle <Hyogo Prefecture>

Himeji Castle located in Himejishi, Hyogo Prefecture was designated as a national treasure and an important cultural property in addition to being designated as Japan’s first world heritage site in 1993. The castle is also known as “Shirasagi (white heron) Castle” because the exterior of the castle looks like a white heron spreading its wings.

The castle has many interesting spots in addition to the castle keep such as “Kesho Yagura” which Senhime (a princess) used as a resting place and “Okiku Ido (water well)” where a person named Okiku was thrown into the well.

 

Himeji Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
http://www.hankyu-travel.com/kinki/hyogo/himejijo/?p_baitai=9599

 

竹田城

 

2nd place – Takeda Castle <Hyogo Prefecture>

This castle is located at the top Gojo Mountain (353.7m) in Asagoshi, Hyogo Prefecture. The castle was closed about 400 years ago and only the stone walls remained. The castle is also known as “the sky castle” since it looks like it is floating on the clouds when a thick mist moves in. The castle is designated as “the holy ground of couples” and therefore many couples visit this castle.

Takeda Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
http://www.hankyu-travel.com/kinki/takeda_castle/?p_baitai=9599

 

松本城

3rd place: Matsumoto Castle <Nagano Prefecture>

Matsumoto Castle located in Matsumoto-shi, Nagano Prefecture is the oldest remaining five layered castle keep in Japan and is designated as a national treasure. Many people say that the charm of this castle is the beauty of the exterior coated with white and black plaster. The mountains surrounding this castle are very beautiful. Inside the castle, you can meet with the staff of the castle called “Omotenashitai” wearing armor and clothes of ninja and take photos with them.

Matsumoto Castle’s Sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kanto.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc01

 

江戸城

4th place: Edo Castle <Tokyo>

The area around this ruined castle is used by the imperial family. The castle used to be the residence of Ieyasu Tokugawa. You must make a reservation or apply for a ticket on the same day you visit the area (first-come-first-served basis) if you want to view the residence of the imperial family. Higashi Gyoen has a castle keep, Fuijimiyagura (observation deck) and Tokagakudo (music hall). The area has many other interesting points such as the main gate called Otemon, Futae Bridge which is popular as a photo-taking spot, Sakuradamon where “Sakurada Mongai no Hen” (historical incident) occurred and the statue of Masashige Kusunoki.

Edo Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kanto.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc02

 

彦根城

 

5th place: Hikone Castle <Shiga Prefecture)

The castle keep, Tsukeyagura and Tamonyagura (observation decks) of Hikone Castle which is located in Hikoneshi, Shiga Prefecture are designated as national treasures. The castle was built to prepare for war, so you can view hidden rooms and Hazama (holes to shoot arrows and fire guns from) in the castle keep. About 400 Japanese plum trees are planted inside the grounds of the castle. The trees bloom in mid to late March every year.

Hikone Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kinki.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc04

 

大阪城

6th place: Osaka Castle <Osaka>

Osaka Castle located in Osaka-shi, Osaka is a popular sightseeing spot which was designated as a cultural property in 1997 after it was rebuilt and renovated. The castle consists of 8 floors included a museum and observation deck. There are many interesting things to see in this castle such as exhibition rooms, a theatre and a museum. You can view the city of Osaka from the observation deck which is located on the top of the castle.

Osaka Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kinki.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc01

 

上田城

 

7th place: Ueda Castle <Nagano Prefecture>

Ueda Castle was built by Masayuki Sanada in 1583. Seasonal events such as “Senbonzakura Matsuri” where you can view about 1000 cherry blossom trees and “Keyaki Namiki Koyo Matsuri” where you can view lit up zelkovas are held every year.

Ueda Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kanto.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc03

 

五稜郭

8th place: Goryokaku <Hokkaido>

Goryokaku located in the center of Hakodate, Hokkaido is a western-style castle which was built during the Bakumatsu Era (late Edo Era) as an administrative institution of Edo Bakufu (government). There are 5 tipped areas called “Ryoho” and the castle is shaped like a star. The inside area of the fortress is 3 times bigger than Tokyo Dome (125,500 square meters). You can also see the interior of Hakodate Bugyosho located in the center of the castle grounds.

Goryokaku’s sightseeing/information tour
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/hokkaido-tohoku.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc01

 

熊本城

9th place: Kumamoto Castle <Kumamoto Prefecture>

This castle is located in the center of Kumamoto-shi. It has big/small castle keeps and the building consists of 6F and B1F. You can view the city of Kumamoto and Aso Mountain from the top of this castle. “Syoku no Ma” shining in gold which is located inside Hongan Goten was renovated, so this is a “must see.”

Kumamoto Castle’s sightseeing/touring information
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kyushu-okinawa.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc02

 

名古屋城

10th place (tie): Nagoya Castle <Aichi Prefecture>

A castle which Ieyasu Tokugawa built to conquer Japan. The interior of the castle keep (B1F to 7F) can be viewed and you can observe many historical items such as important cultural assets, body armor, head armors, katanas and hagbuts. An event where you can experience the lifestyle of a domain lord can be experienced. The most recommended item is the life size golden dolphin which you can ride.

Nagoya Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/chubu-hokuriku.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc05

 

二条城

10th place (tie): Nijo Castle <Kyoto>

This castle which was designated as a world’s heritage site in 1994 was built as an accommodation for Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1603. It is also known as the place where Taiseihokan (historical event where the government of Japan was renewed) was held by the Tokugawa Family’s 15th general Yoshinobu Tokugawa. The national treasure, Ninomaru Goten using 800 tatami mats (3,300 square meter) has 33 rooms and the wall paintings are very beautiful.

Nijo Castle’s sightseeing/touring information
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kinki.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc06

 

弘前城

10th place (tie): Hirosaki Castle <Aomori Prefecture>

This castle is built inside Hirasaki Park located in Hirosakishi, Aomori Prefecture. A part of the castle was burnt down by a lightning strike in 1627 but was rebuilt in 1810. Observation decks called “Tatsumi Yagura,” “Hitsuji Saru Yagura” and “Ushitora Yagura” can be observed in addition to the castle keep. Each observation deck is located in a different direction (south east, south west and north east)

Hirosaki Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/hokkaido-tohoku.php?p_baitai=9599&#Anc02

 

 

Let’s feel the history of Japan by visiting the castles noted above.

 

■Information

Hankyu Kotsusha’s touring site:

https://www.hankyu-travel.com/?p_baitai=9599

 

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    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

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    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

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  • Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

    Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.

    The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.

     

    Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.

    The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.

    If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!

  • Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine

    02.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.

     

    In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.

     

    Amano Pearl

    When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.

    Accessory – ¥2,200

    This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.

    The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.

     

    ▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/

     

     

    Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.

    Hanabana – ¥864

    Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.

    Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200

    The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.

    Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.

     

    If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.

     

    ▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/

     

     

    Uoharu

    Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.

    Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour

    The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.

    Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.

     

    ▶Uoharu

    Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)

    Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/

     

     

    Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.

    Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160

    Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.

    At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.

     

    ▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie

    Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)

    *Products may sell out before 17:00

    *Opening hours subject to change for January

     

     

    So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!

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