Hyogo Prefecture has a lot of great castles and thus is a must-visit for castle fans. Besides the famous and beautiful Himeji Castle, there’s another one that got really popular in recent years: Takeda Castle!
In the media it’s often called “The Castle in the Sky” or “Machu Picchu of Japan“.
Access to Takeda Castle
Takeda Castle (竹田城) is located in Asago City (朝来市), Hyogo Prefecture (map).
You can take a JR train to “Takeda Station” and then either walk up to the castle (~30 mins) or take a taxi (~10 mins).
I actually went by car, but decided to park in front of the train station and walk up to the castle.
As you can see they offer bamboo sticks free of charge that might help when hiking up.
It’s about 1km until you reach the top.
If you’re young and healthy, then this shouldn’t be a problem. People with knee or back issues – or elderly people should rather take a taxi.
“The Castle in The Sky”
Takeda Castle got the nickname “Castle in the Sky” because in autumn it’s surrounded by a sea of clouds. This phenomenon can usually be observed in the early mornings from September to November, when there is a sharp temperature difference between day and night.
As I went in spring, I couldn’t witness this great sight, but check out this breathtaking video:
Beautiful, isn’t it? I’m very tempted to visit a second time just to see this!
Takeda Castle’s History
It is unknown when exactly Takeda Castle was built. According to a diary it was built from 1441-1443, but some other historical documents say it was in 1431.
What is known today, though, is that the castle was built as a stronghold of Izushi Castle. Otagaki Mitsukage of the Yamana clan (山名氏) built the castle and also became its lord.
However, in 1557, Takeda Castle was conquered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Since then, the castle saw a lot of different lords come and go.
After 1600, Takeda Castle was abandoned.
You can read more about Takeda Castle’s history here, but it’s all in Japanese.
The Takeda Castle Ruins are located on a hill, about 350m above sea level. From up there you’ll have a beautiful view.
The castle ground is spacious and offers almost a 360° view.
Although there is no castle building or tower left, Takeda Castle Ruins are truly impressive.
I’ve been to over 100 Japanese castles, also to a lot of ruins. I can tell you that this is by far my favorite castle ruin!
This timber peg shows us where the castle tower (honmaru) used to be.
I went in early spring. While the cherry blossoms were in full bloom in the valley, they weren’t out yet up there.
Massive castle walls remain. A very impressive sight!
As you can see there aren’t many people in my photos, but please don’t be fooled.
Takeda Castle recently became very popular after being mentioned in the media a lot. More and more tourists keep coming.
Headlines like “Swarm of tourists linked to possible collapse of Takeda Castle Ruins” pop up.
And because of that they’ve now decided to ask for a small entrance fee of 300 yen. When I visited in April 2013, it was still free of charge.
The weather was cloudy and I didn’t like the colors on the photos very much.
However, shortly before dusk the colors became really beautiful.
I remember sitting on this bench, instagramming. It was quiet and I could enjoy the great atmosphere and wonderful view!
The stone on the right photo says: Takeda Castle Ruins, Hyogo Prefecture.
Maybe calling it the “Machu Picchu of Japan” is an exaggeration, but it is absolutely worth a visit!
I rarely visit a sight twice, but Takeda Castle certainly goes on my “to-revisit-list”. *g*
Hopefully, I can enjoy the “sea of clouds” and witness the true “Castle in the Sky” then.