Kyoto has a lot of famous sights, mainly temples and shrines, but sometimes you just want to get away from that and see something else.
But where to go? From Kyoto your day trip options are endless.
As part of a day trip itinerary you could visit Shoryuji Castle which I’ll introduce today.
Access to Shoryuji Castle
Shoryuji Castle (勝竜寺城) is located in Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto Prefecture.
The castle can be easily accessed from JR Nagaokakyo Station (~10 mins, 220 yen from Kyoto Station). The castle is a 10-min walk from the east exit of the station.
Best Time to Visit Shoryuji Castle
I’ve only been there once, but judging by how beautiful the cherry blossoms were, I’d say early April is probably the most beautiful time to visit the castle.
Did you notice how lovely the fallen petals look in the castle moat?
There’s a great yearly festival called “Garasha Matsuri” in early November, so I suppose that’s also a good time to go.
Shoryuji Castle’s History
Shoryuji Castle was built by Hosokawa Yoriharu in 1339.
The castle mainly served as stronghold to defend Kyoto, capital at that time.
During the Onin War, it became occupied by Iwanari Tomomichi and the western alliance. Oda Nobunaga conquered the castle in 1568, and handed it to Hosokawa Tadaoki, who fortified the castle and built a double moat around it. He occupied the castle until 1579.
About one week after Nobunaga’s death in 1582, Shoryuji Castle was used as a base by Akechi Mitsuhide in the Battle of Yamazaki.
In 1633, Lord Nagai Naokiyo wanted to reconstruct the castle that was in a poor condition at that time. But he had to leave the castle in 1649 and after that nobody took care of it anymore.
Shoryuji Castle – Facilities
The main building consists of 2 floors. Admission is free.
In the first floor you’ll find a rest area, vending machines and a toilet. In the second floor are some related exhibitions.
You’ll even find a detailed miniature model of the castle.
There’s also a map (view from the south side) of the castle.
Inside of the castle grounds is a small park.
In the photo above you see the statues of Tadaoki Hosokawa and Garasha Hosokawa. The latter was the daughter of a samurai and a Christian convert. Her father, Akechi Mitsuhide, was actually responsible for Nobunaga’s death. Rumors say that Garasha was canonized as a saint in 1862 by the Vatican. (*source: Wikipedia)
The “Garasha Festival” I mentioned earlier is held for her.
The park is small, but offers a quiet and lovely atmosphere for hanging out, having a picnic and enjoying Japanese history.
In spring it is especially beautiful as you can see in the photos.
In the photo above you see the “sumi turret” (sumi yagura, 隅櫓).
View of the castle and the moat from a higher elevation.
If you happen to be in Kyoto with some extra time on your hands, then this is a nice way to get out for just an hour or so.
And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this blog post.
Please let me know in the comments below if you’d consider visiting or if you’ve already been there.