Saturday, November 16, 2013

[Resources] Japanese Castles

At one time, Japan had nearly 5,000 castles but now there are only around 100 left in the country.

Made with stone and more wood than European castles, many were destroyed during the Warring States period, known as the Sengoku period, between 1467 and 1603. Some, due to their important strategic locations, were rebuilt.

Japanese castles went through innovations over the centuries, with many made when firearms were introduced to Japan. While large cannon were expensive and rare, matchlock arquebuses were more common. Castles developed more man-made, rather than natural, fortifications by building upon large stone foundations with wooden fortifications above.

These castles were focused on ranged attacks with matchlock guns. Additionally, the layout of the castle became more complex, creating a series of baileys and courtyards that allowed defenders to attack and defeat those who breached the walls.

One of my favorite websites on Japanese castles is the Go Japan Go Japanese Castles page. It has a lot of history, maps and details.


  1. Japanese castles are hella cramped, especially along the walks where the murderholes are. I couldn't imagine wearing armor and trying to walk up the interior steps.

  2. I have yet to visit one but one day!


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