During my trip through Kanagawa Prefecture I did not only visit Kawasaki Daishi Temple, the rather interesting Kanamara Matsuri (aka The Phallus Festival) and the Sankeien Garden in Yokohama, but on my way to Shizuoka Prefecture I also stopped by at Odawara Castle.
Exploring Odawara Castle during a typhoon
I spent the morning in Yokohama re-visiting China Town and some other spots. The weather got worse and worse. My plan was to travel to Shizuoka Prefecture later that day and stop in Odawara as it’s on the way. By that time a strong typhoon had hit the Kanto area which is really rare in early April! It was raining cats and dogs. Apart from me there was almost nobody outside, but because I came all the way, I went to see the castle nevertheless.
I apologize that the photos are of lower quality and generally a little bit dark.
As you can see the cherry blossoms were already blooming and so there was a “Sakura Festival” going on, but not when the typhoon hit. I was almost the only one on the castle grounds at that time. The wind was extremely strong and so was the rain.
Odawara Castle – A great Japanese Castle
Odawara Castle (小田原城) is located in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture (map) and can easily be accessed by a short 10min. walk from JR Odawara Station.
Among the many Japanese castles I’ve visited thus far, Odawara Castle is certainly one that deserves to be in the list of my favorites.
The main tower is rather big and very beautiful. Inside you’ll find various exhibitions on 5 floors, so expect to spend at least 30 minutes there!
Built in the 15th century Odawara Castle was expanded in 1495 by the daimyo Hojo Soun. The Hojo Clan grew stronger and ruled the castle for many generations until it had to be surrendered to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the latter half of the 16th century. Since then the castle has seen many different owners. It was destroyed in the latter half of the 19th century when the political power changed from the Edo shogunate to the Meiji government.
The main tower you see now is a reconstruction of 1960. There are 5 floors, but from the outside you cannot see all of them as one is underground. The castle moat and stone walls remained as they were.
The park surrounding the castle is also very beautiful, but I couldn’t explore it on that day due to the typhoon. As it is very spacious, so I suppose that you need to calculate another 30 minutes to see everything!
I took a different path back to the JR Odawara Station. The Odawara Castle Park has more than just one entry as you can see on the map here.
There were several cute pictures on the pavement that was leading to the castle park!
Although my experience wasn’t the best due to the typhoon, I really was impressed and can highly recommend Odawara Castle! It can be easily accessed from Yokohama or Tokyo in a 30-90min. train ride (depending on what type of train you use).
|T O U R I S T I N F O R M A T I O N|
|Opening Hours:||9:00-17:00 (enter before 16:30); Jun-Aug (Sat, Sun and national holidays until 18:00, enter before 17:30)|
|Holidays:||December 31st – January 1st; 2nd Wed in December|
|Entrance fee:||400 yen (adult); 150 yen (children – jr. high)|
|Time required:||at least 30 min.|
|Access:||About 10 min. walk from JR Odawara Station|
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Events in May:
- May 3-4: Hakata Dontaku Festival (Fukuoka)
- May 3-5: Hamamatsu Kite Fighting
- May 10-24: Tokyo Sumo Tournament
- May 15: Aoi Matsuri (Kyoto)
- May 15-16: Takigi O-Noh (Nara)
- May 15-17: Asakusa Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo)
- May 16-17: Kanda Matsuri (Tokyo)
- May 17: Mifune Matsuri (Kyoto)
- May 17-18: Shunki Reitaisai (Nikko)
- May 30-31: Aioi Peron Festival (Hyogo)