Our first visit ever to an original samurai castle.
We had not visited a castle for this whole trip. And somehow I even managed to forget about it after. However, it is really worth mentioning. The Kochi Castle is one of just twelve castles in Japan to have survived the fires, wars and other catastrophes of the post feudal age. It was constructed between 1601 and 1611, and then reconstructed after a fire in 1748.
The castle used to be the seat of the Yamauchi lords, who ruled over the surrounding region. Today the castle buildings have since been designated “important cultural properties”, and now house local treasures and historical objects.
A unique feature of this castle is that its main tower was not only used for military purposes, but also as a residence. In most other castles, the lords usually resided in separate palace buildings rather than in the castle keep. The layout of the surroundings, the buildings, walls and high location makes it almost impossible to concur for enemies, and it is very impressive. The view from the castle tower is spectacular, not easy to access for everyone due to a steep narrow staircase, but well worth it at the top.
For the Kochi area (as well as Shikoku) this castle is worth a visit…even in 35 degrees heat.