Takeda Castle Ruins, a castle in the sky

Takeda Castle, also known in Japan as the “castle floating in the sky”, is not so far away from our gallery.

Photo by Ryo&なっすー

Embed from Getty Images

Also known as “Japan’s Machu Picchu”, “Crouching Tiger”, and “Lover’s Sanctuary”

The castle wasn’t so famous in 2000 when we first started our gallery here.

It suddenly became famous by an impressive photo of ruins in dense fog captured by 83 year old local photographer, Toshihisa Yoshida.

It has attracted many visitors after being named as one of Japan’s 100 most famous castles, and was used as locations in film and TV programs. Someone named it as Lover’s Sanctuary.

The castle has been called as Crouching Tiger or “Torafusu-jo” before it became famous, with its layout resemblance to resting tiger.

Originally built as a fort defensing Tajima Province

Takeda castle is located in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture.

Now there are 47 prefectures in Japan but in 15th century, there were no prefectures but were lots of small provinces which often fought against each other.

Hyogo also had several provinces including Tajima and its strong neighbor Harima.
Takeda castle, at that time a mere fort, was built about 580 years ago to protect Tajima from Harima.

Rebuilt by a wise but tragic lord

The battle between Tajima and Harima was over when the great unifier Hideyoshi Toyotomi concurred Tajima.
Local lord, Hirohide Akamatsu surrendered and became a lord of Takeda Castle.

He was said to be a wise man who loved philosophy, tried developing regional industry and beloved by people.
He is said to be the one who rebuilt Takeda Castle to be this large.

But after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he was accused of arson and forced to commit ritual suicide.

Some says he was tricked by his fellow lord and some says he just took a wrong side.
But some says the lord’s strange accusation were something to do with the ownership of near-by Ikuno Silver Mine, which then became a main governmental financial resources.

To capture “Castle in the sky” photo, go to Ritsuunkyo

The most popular viewing spot is from Ritsuunkyo, a park on the mountain opposite the castle.

Fujiwara-toge, opposite the Ritsuunkyo is also as same height as Takeda Castle but will be against the sunlight during Autumn mornings.

Both sites require 30 to 40 minutes dirt road hike from their parking lot.

Sea of clouds can be seen in early mornings during late Autumn

A fog is a set of small water drops saturated when the moist air is rapidly cooled.
So fog is seen in these conditions:

  • September through November
  • Early in the mornings until 7 am
  • A day after the day with the big temperature range
  • A sunny day after rain
  • With no or less wind

Entrance may occasionally be closed

Autumn: Opens from 4:00 am. Parking is closed occasionally.

  • 9/1 to 11/30 Opens from 4:00AM to 4:30PM
  • Holidays:No cars allowed in the main parking. “Unkai Bus” is available from AEON Wadayama Shop.
  • Weekdays:No bus. Parking is open for cars.

Winter: Mostly closes

  • 12/1 to 1/3 Opens from 10:00AM to 1:00PM
  • Closes from 1/4 to end of February

Spring: Opens fron 8:00 am

  • 3/1 to 5/31 Opens from 8:00AM to 5:30PM

Summer: Opens from 6:00 am

  • 6/1 to 8/31 Opens from 6:00AM to 5:30PM

Please visit Takeda Castle website for more precise information.

Our trip to Takeda Castle

We went there in weekday morning so the parking for private cars was open.
We should have started around 6 am before the sun came up but we were a bit late…

Yamashiro no Go Parking has restrooms and souvenir shops but the shops will be open from 8:30 am.

Moon still shines but the sky started to glow lighter.

There is an entrance near the parking lot.

Yes, we still can see the sea of clouds. It lifts as the sun rises so we better hurry.
The pink and blue gradation looks pretty.

This road keeps going about 40 minutes. Grad we brought alpenstocks.

About 10 minutes walk from the main parking, there is a final stop for the restroom.

Oh the sun is up high! …hurry!

We finally came to the ticket booth. Fee for adults is 500 yen.

In 20 more minutes walk up the hill, we say this giant stone walls.
Must be tough to battle against this castle in old times.

Takeda castle ruins is very wide to walk around, takes about 30 minutes.
As a domestic doggy, I must be carried here and there.

Oh, the sea of clouds and beautiful layers of mountains!

It is like a view from heaven.

This looks like one of Chinese Ink paintings.

A characteristic solitary pine tree stands above the clouds.

We came across less people since it was a weekday.

This pine tree on the edge is about 100 years old.
But it died from hardened soil caused by many visitors walking around its roots.

It will be put down sometime in the winter of 2018. Very sad, we should be careful to visit valuable places.
Our footsteps might be small but can cause large damages when they come together.

This reads to the exit, with another 30 minutes walk down the mountain.

We might try visiting Rituunkyo and try capture the “castle in the sky” image next time!

More to read (Japanese)