It was built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) on Gagyu Mountain (430m), in the north area of Ukan-Cho, Takahashi City.
Originally built on Ohmatsu Mountain by Shigenobu Akiba, and was later repaired for 3 years starting in 1683 by castellan Katsumune Mizutani.
The castle keep, the double yagura (turret) and the remaining east mud wall of sannohira yagura (turret) have been designated as National Import Cultural Properties. They were all built during the Edo period (1603-1868).
This hilltop castle keep is the highest among all remaining castle keeps. It's sometimes referred to as "The Castle in the Sky" due to its dreamlike appearance in the sea of clouds in the morning sun.
View The top of the mountain is a 20-minute walk from the 8th station, at the Fuigo pass. You can enjoy the sprawling view of Takahashi City as you hike the mountain.
Stone wall The most prominent part of Bicchu Matsuyama castle is the stone wall build up on the rocks. The stone walls were ingeniously built upon the hard granite rocks.
The east mud wall of sannohira yagura (turret) The mud wall that leads to the front of the castle comes after turning left from Oote gate. The core of the wall was made by layers of soil, and the wall was plastered. The wall is designated as an Important Cultural Property.
The castle keep Among the twelve existing castle keeps in Japan, Bicchu Takamatsu Castle is the only one on a hilltop. The interior is a simple but sturdy triple turret structure. The exterior seems to have three stories, but it actually only has two.
Hearth in the castle keep The hearth inside of the castle keep was for preparing meals for the castle master and for heat in the case of being besieged. The idea of having a hearth inside of the castle keep started after repeated battles over the castle during the Sengoku period (1467-1600) because it was the capital of the Bicchu area.
Double turret The two-story double turret is located behind the castle keep on the natural gigantic rock, just as the castle keep is. The turret has two entrances. The north entrance leads to the rear grounds and the south entrance leads to the back of the castle keep.
Detailed information
Year of construction Built in 1683 Address 1 Uchisange Takahashi City, Okayama, Japan Access Approximately 10 minutes by taxi from JR Bicchu Takahashi Station to Fuigo pass.
About 20 minutes on foot to the castle from the parking area. Parking Fuigo pass parking: 14 cars
Shiromi bridge park: 110 cars Takahashi City official website
Recent excavation of the ruins of Kino Castle have revealed that it was a gigantic hilltop castle.
Kino Castle (397m) had a swirl shaped wall surrounding the top of the mountain, stretching 2.8 km. The castle is said to be an ancient Korean-style hilltop castle and is one of the biggest of its kind in Japan.
The legendary demons that appear in the tale of Kibitsuhiko are said to have lived in this castle.
Kino Castle does not appear in official historical publications from ancient times and its origin is still shrouded in history. But the mysterious hilltop castle appears in written accounts from later times.
According to the written account, "A rampant ogre came to Kibi Province. He was called Ura, a prince from a country called Baekje. He soon built a castle at the top of Mount Niiyama. Ura often robbed things that were being transported to the capital and abducted children and women. Villagers were scared and called the castle Kino (Demon). They went to the city and denounced the violence." This is the lore called Ura Densho and the name of the area where the castle lies came from the story.
Corner building This building structure that sticks out from the outer line of the castle wall is called kakuro (corner building). The castle wall is to block enemies from coming in, but a simple wall creates a blind spot, so this corner building that sticks out was made for surveillance. There is a 1.5m wide rock path at the bottom along the outer part of the building. Also, there are stone steps on the castle side and they lead to the corner building.
West gate (facing towards the castle) The west gate was found during an excavation in 1996. It was built by a ledge high on the mountain to protect Kino Castle. The first story has a cobblestone path to the gate doors, the second story has a connecting path and the third story was built for surveillance and in case of battle.
The west gate is big as the south gate, with a 12.3-meter opening. The path is 4.1 meters wide and 8.2 meters deep and supports the upper levels of the gate with 12 pillars.
Each of the rectangular pillars that hold the gate door is up to 60 cm wide and the gate foundation has intricate work.
West gate (facing away from the castle)
Detailed information
Year of construction Built in 663 Address Okusaka, Kuroo Soja City, Okayama, Japan Access *Kino Castle Mountain Visitor Center
20 minutes by car from JR Soja Station
8 km from the Okayama Soja Interchange of the Okayama Expressway Parking *Kino Castle Mountain Visitor Center
About 70 cars Soja City Sightseeing Navigation (Kino Castle)

The feudal lord Hideie Ukita built the castle in 1597, on a hill on a delta of the Asahi River.
Having three tiers and six floors aboveground, the castle has a majestic structure with all black wooden wall boards. This castle is also sometimes called Ujo (Crow Castle) due to its all black appearance.
The castle keep's shape is a scalene pentagon. It is very unusual and is an important piece of historical cultural heritage that represents an ancient style from before the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
Visitors can dress up in a kimono to be a feudal lord or princess in the castle keep.
When the castle was restored in 1966, the lord's room was also restored in the traditional Japanese residential style called "Shoin style".
The existing Tsukimi turret and Noshinomaru nishite turret are designated as National Important Cultural Properties.
The castle keep The current Okayama Castle is a restored building. Hideie Ukita built the symbolic castle in a style called borogata (lookout tower type) with three tiers and six floors aboveground. The lord's room was made in the Shoin style to symbolize the lord's dignity and these features indicate the early period in which the castle was built.
Even after the Ordinance for Keeping and Disposal of Castles in 1873, Okayama Castle kept its castle keep. However, it was burned down during an Allied air raid in 1945.
The inside of the castle is currently a museum. It has six floors and you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Okayama City from the top floor. You can have a close look at the golden dolphins on the roof from the fifth floor with Korakuen Garden and the Asahi River in the background. From the second floor to the fifth floor are displays about the history of the castle, the life of the lord Naoie Ukita and the structural features of the castle.
Akazu No Mon
(Unopenable Gate)
This gate was torn down due to the Ordinance for Keeping and Disposal of Castles, but it was rebuilt in 1966 along with the castle keep.
This gate is the official front gate going from the middle level of the castle property to the top level. The top level had the lord's residence and only people of certain classes could enter. Therefore, the gate was often closed and thus called the "Unopenable Gate".
Roka Mon (Hallway Gate) This gate is for getting to the middle level of the castle property and works as a back gate (as compared to the official front gate). You have to go through this gate like a hallway to enter Okayama Castle from the entrance facing Korakuen Garden.
The gate is a type called yaguramon (having a turret on top of the gate). The top half of the gate has a shed and was used as a short hall for the lord to walk through. That's why the gate was called Hallway Gate.
Just like the Tsukimi turret, it was built by Tadakatsu Ikeda in the 1620s. However, it was torn down during the Meiji Era. The current one was rebuilt of reinforced concrete in 1966.
Tsukimi (moon viewing) Turret This corner turret was built during an expansion of the castle by the fifth castle lord Tadakatsu Ikeda in the early Edo period in case of an attack on the keep of the castle. The turret was also used for moon viewing, but the original purpose was for defending the castle from enemies. The turret itself is also an arsenal and has hidden crenels and machicolations.
The castle seems to have two tiers from outside but it is actually a multi-level tower with three tiers.
The inside of the second floor has rain shutters on both the east and the west sides for daily use.
Detailed information
Year of construction Built in 1597 Address 2-3-1 Marunouchi Kita-Ku, Okayama City, Okayama Access From JR Okayama Station: 5 minutes on the street car bound for Higashiyama. Get off at Shiroshita. From there it is a 10-minute walk to the castle.
From the Sanyo Expressway: Get off at Okayama Interchange and it's 20 minutes to the castle. Parking Please use the Ujo Park parking lot.
300 yen for the first hour (After the first hour, 100 yen / 30 minutes)
*discount: Paying Okayama Castle keep visitors will get a 150 yen parking discount. To get the discount, show the stub of your admission ticket or get your parking ticket stamped at the reception desk of the castle. Okayama Castle Official Website

The castle is on Kakuzan hill in the middle of a plain, and was built in 1616 by Tadamasa Mori, who was the lord of Tsuyama.
The castle used to have 5 tiers, the castle keep, turrets and the castle gates, but all of them were torn down due to Disposal of Castles edict during the Meiji Era.
However, Bicchu turret to the southeast of the castle keep was restored in 2005 to celebrate the castle's 400th anniversary.
The layers of the stone wall look majestic with cherry blossoms in full bloom in the background, giving the castle a good reason for being designated as one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites.
Bicchu Turret The name Bicchu turret was named after Nagayoshi Ikeda, the second lord of Inaba Tottori Domain and also Bicchu governor. He later became the first lord of the Bicchu Takamatsu Domain.
Bicchu turret was restored in 2005 for the castle's 400th anniversary and its white walls and latticed windows are impressive. The turret is located on the area that is stretched out from the Honmaru along the stone wall and used as a living area, even though the building was a turret.
Inside of Bicchu Turret Bicchu turret was unlike usual turrets for storage and lookout, because part of it was used as living space.
Therefore, the floor is laid with tatami mats.
The crane-shaped crest that symbolizes the Mori clan is used to decorate the nail covers and sliding door handles.

The base of the castle keep A sotogata-style castle keep with 5 tiers was on the west side of honmaru, but everything was torn down due to Disposal of Castles edict during the Meiji Era.
At that time, there was an earthwork enclosure surrounding the base of the castle keep and despite the limited space multiple gates were built.

The political image of Tadamasa Mori He was the son of Yoshinari Mori, and he was a younger brother of Nagayoshi and Ranmaru.
Mori built Tsuyama Castle and was dedicated to the development of the castle town.
Omote Naka Gate This Omote Naka gate is the biggest gate in the castle. It is as big as the one in Edo and Osaka castles and the stone steps to get to the inside of the castle are much wider than is typical in other castles in Japan.
The remain of Kitte Gate The gate was to prevent enemies from entering into Honmaru.
The path is made of three different kinds of stone steps. The height and the placement are arranged in a special way to trap enemies when they are entering.
Detailed information
Year of construction Built in 1616 Address 135 Sange, Tsuyama City Access 15 minutes by car from the Tsuyama Interchange or the Shoin Interchange on the Chugoku Expressway
10 minutes on foot from JR Tsuyama station Parking There is parking at Tsuyama Kanko Sightseeing Center for 30 cars and 6 buses. Tsuyama City Official Sightseeing Website