Japanese Castles

During the Meiji Period, many castles were destroyed as unwelcome relicts of the feudal past, and even more were lost in World War II. Only about a dozen original castles, i.e. castles that date from the feudal era (before 1868), survive today. Furthermore, several dozen castles were reconstructed over the past decades.

The typical, large castle consisted of three rings of defense, with the so called honmaru ("main circle") in the center followed by the ninomaru ("second circle") and sannomaru ("third circle"). The castle tower stood in the honmaru, while the lords usually lived at a more comfortable residence in the ninomaru. In the town around the castle, the samurai were resided. The higher their rank, the closer they lived to the castle. Merchants and artisans lived in special areas, while temple and entertainment districts were usually located just outside the city. Tokyo and Kanazawa are two good examples among many Japanese cities which evolved as castle towns. The main construction material for castle buildings used to be wood. Most newer reconstructions, however, are made of concrete, and their interiors are modern. Most castles now house a museum.

Source: www.japan-guide.com (castle images © Japan-guide.com)