Travel

Momoyama Castle, Kyoto

Hello, today I want to introduce “Momoyama Castle” to you.

Earlier this month I went to Kansai for the 2039473th time.
I really love Kansai and I’ve been to many places there already, but there’s always something new to discover or something old to revisit / redo.

Actually I’m a “castle hunter“. I’m in love with Japanese castles and by the time of writing this I’ve been to about 50 castles already.

Let’s start my long list of visited castles with one of the most recent ones:
Momoyama Castle, also known as Fushimi Castle is in Kyoto.
I’m pretty sure that most (foreign) visitors didn’t know about this castle or have ever visited it?!

Momoyama Station in Kyoto

Momoyama Station is only a few minutes away by train from Kyoto Station!

It’s a 15 minutes walk from Momoyama Station to the actual Castle Park.
It’s quite easy to find. You can ask for a (Japanese) map at the small station before you depart.
If you’re Japanese is not good at all, try asking in the huge “Tourist Information Center” situated within Kyoto Station instead. They can provide lots of information in English.

I enjoyed the walk up the hill and took a few random photos.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

In front of the park entrance. You can see Momoyama Castle in the background already.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

Next to the castle is this really old … “castle sign”?! I really liked it, though!
And then it was time to enter the castle park through the huge main gate.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

Momoyama Castle was originally built in 1592 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and in use until 1623.
The castle was supposed to serve as Hideyoshi’s retirement home, but it was destroyed by an earthquake.

Thus the current castle is a complete reconstruction of the original one. However, it wasn’t reconstructed until 1964.
Yes, original castles are usually the most interesting ones, but the outer appearance of this castle is really beautiful and thus making up for everything!

This is one of the very few castles that you cannot enter anymore (since 2003).
Momoyama Castle used to be really famous for its tea ceremony room in which both the walls and the implements were covered in gold leaf.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

See? It’s a really beautiful castle – although it’s “only” reconstructed. Don’t you think?

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

The autumn colors together with the blue sky create a really nice color mix.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

The main building of Momoyama Castle.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

Walking closer towards the castle to see all the details.

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

The park is rather small, but very nice to hang out.

I imagine it to be extremely beautiful during cherry blossom season!

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

Spiders seem to enjoy being close to the castle as well??!!

Momoyama Castle in Kyoto

You’ll find peaches on the street everywhere. Why?
Well, “momo” (桃) – as in “Momoyama” (桃山) – means “peach” in Japanese!
I love how every single city has their own symbol or mascot and how it’s also displayed on the streets, too!

And then I took the train to “Inari Station”.
Probably some bells already started to ring when you read “Fushimi” Castle?!
Yes, Momoyama Castle is only 2 stations away from the famous “Fushimi Inari Shrine“.

Thus, if you have 1/2-1h to spare,
Momoyama Castle is definitely worth a side trip!

20 Comments

  • That arrangement with the cosmos flowers and the maple tree looks absolutely stunning. Inspiration for next spring, although those Japanese maple trees are so expensive over here :(

    I’ll try though, wanted one for quite some time as addition to my two sakura and my ginkgo tree :)

    And to stay on topic: I had no idea about that castle! I’ll have to put it on my list for the next time I’m in Kyoto. Lately it seems though that I’ve turned into an island hunter :) Gotta visit them all, no matter how remote, so Kyoto won’t be happening any time soon!

    • They are? Nooo!!! I want a few maple and cherry blossom trees in my future Japanese garden, too!! :hihi:

      Now I really want to visit your garden!! :D

      I think most people don’t know about it. It’s not really promoted or mentioned in the usual travel guide pamphlets and books. I guess they don’t consider it valuable enough considering what else there is to see in Kyoto anyways, but it’s so close, it’s definitely worth a short visit! :)

  • what a beautiful castle!! you’ve been to 50!! wow!! ;P
    i prefer the look of european castles, but the japanese ones are pretty too. and it’s cute that each city has a symbol/mascot. hehe. and i like peaches. :fan:

  • Wow, you’ve already been to 50 castles?! I’ve only been to four! :(

    I find this castle unique with it’s color. Different from the usual gray or green color of the castles I’ve been to. It’s just unfortunate that you can’t enter this castle anymore.

    • Roughly, yes. I stopped updating my list when I was over 30, but that was at the beginning of this year. I’ve been to many castles yet again this year!
      Need to update that list and evenutally post it here on my blog! :thumbup:

      There are some others like that, but not many – and none of them is an “original”, all of them are reconstructed.

      It is a shame, yes, but as this isn’t an original castle, the inside is not that interesting anyways.
      Going inside an original castle is sooo interesting!! :heart:

  • Looking forward to your updated list!

    I know whhat you mean abour original and reconstructed castles. The staircases inside Matsumoto Castle are surely original. ;P

    • Thank you!
      It will take some time as I’m super busy at the moment (as you might know) ^-^;

      Yes, they are!! Matsumoto Castle is an awesome castle anyways, and so is Himeji! I also like smaller original castles, though, like the one in Inuyama or Hikone! :D

  • Thanks for the beautiful shots. The castle is beautiful and usual….you have got me hooked now…so everywhere I go I will look for castles too!! Mahalo nui loa!!!

  • Wow this is such a beautiful castle, thanks for all the great pictures, I didn’t even know this castle existed! I’m too busy trying to see all the World Heritage sites when I go to Kyoto – but Momoyama-jo is definitely the next place to go in Kyoto!

    • It is! :D
      I’ve been a few times in Kyoto and also several times to Fushimi Inari, but always failed to visit this great castle!
      The last few years I plan my trips around castles and I always try to visit as many as possible, even ruins if they look interesting enough.
      Here’s a list of castles I’ve visited thus far (although I seriously have to update it after just coming back from a 2 weeks trip with 15-20 new castles under my belt *g*)

  • I have visited about a dozen Japanese castles, some more interesting than others. I have particularly liked Matsumoto, Himeji, Kumamoto, Matsue and Kochi. In Okayama and Kanazawa, frankly the gardens are breathtaking and the castles [or what’s left of them], less so.

    I will admit though that I prefer European castles because of the greater variety of styles. and some are of course a great deal older. But I do enjoy visiting the Japanese ones nonetheless.

    Thanks for your great photos.

    There is a huge variety of Japanese maples to choose from. One needs to consider garden size, sun exposure, coldest [and hottest] temperatures before choosing. Large number of sakuras too. I have a weakness for the weeping ones. Gingkos: get a male, as the fruit stinks!

    • I agree with Kanazawa’s Castle. I was disappointed by the castle, but also a bit by the garden (but that was because of the weather…).
      I do like Okayama Castle, though! However, I don’t think it would make it into my “Top 10”.

      I like European castles as well, but I rarely had any chance to visit them. I’ve only been to a few in Germany.

      As you know very well I can’t resist Japanese castles. Many people say they all look the same, but I don’t think so. It’s always exciting to visit a new one. Sometimes the path that leads you to a castle itself can turn into an interesting adventure, too! :D

      I’d love to have a Japanese Garden myself, but I would hate to take care of it! :ehehe:

  • I am something of a gardener, so I studied Japanese gardens, and my conclusion was that it would take too much time and work for me, given where I am. It is feasible, of course, but one would need to pay very close attention to design and maintenance. The best thing would be to keep it small, as just a special corner, for instance.

    I would encourage you to visit castles in France if you ever have a chance. There is a huge variety of them. Just the Loire valley has a beautiful assortment. But each province has its own.

  • I visited this castle during the end of sakura 2014 in Kyoto. It was a beautiful surprise.To go to the castle we take a way which come through beautiful houses. After 10 minutes by foot, we arrive to a car park and we see it ! Two red building, one is a yagura and the second the tenshu. After passing the gate, we are impress by this castle. But the most important is the ambiance that the castle create. For me, it’s like a ghost castle : nobody can enter and all people play around it. It ‘s like an attraction.In place of ornamental lake you have a castle ! If you go to Kyoto, take 2 hours (or 3) and go to visit this castle…it will be a good choice.

    • I’m so glad you liked this castle as well, Julien!
      Tourists often don’t know about this castle although it would be so easy to drop by after visiting Fushimi Inari. ;)

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