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Bitchu Matsuyama Castle in Okayama is One of Japan’s Few Remaining Original Castles

Posted By on Aug 18, 2014

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If you enjoy being outdoors and hiking, then Bitch Matsuyama Castle (備中松山城) is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. It’s one of only 12 original castles in Japan that has fortunately survived orders to be demolished during the early Meiji period.

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Located in the rural area of Okayama, you’ll certainly get off the beaten tourist path when visiting this castle. Bitchu Matsuyama castle is 430 meters above sea level and is the highest castle in all of Japan.

It’ll take around an hour and a half to hike to the castle grounds but on the way you’ll pass through small towns, temples, and streams that are lined with beautiful sakura if you visit during spring.

It is possible to drive or take a taxi, but only for part of the way up to the parking area.

Once you arrive at the castle grounds you’ll first need to pay a small ¥300 entry free before you are able to go inside.

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Even though the castle is quite small and only two-stories high, it has a very ancient and authentic feeling especially as it is 100% original.

The castle was built in Meiji Period style and looks quite similar to the historic Bikan district in Kurashiki, which isn’t located too far away.

You can go inside the castle’s main keep and explore both of the two floors.

Inside the castle on the ground floor is a small museum showing the history of the castle and information on its slight renovations, which its had only 3).  There are also photos from throughout history showing the castle at different stages as well as many artifacts.

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Walking around the inside of the castle you could even find many small windows with slits built into them, used for defending the castle with arrows. Be sure  to take a peak through one as the views of surrounding Takahashi and the river are quite nice.

Even though it’s located a bit further out, Bitchu Matsuyama is a great example of a castle and you should take the time to visit. Not many tourists, or even local Japanese, can say they’ve visited one of the few remaining original castles in Japan.

 Address: 1 Uchisange, Takahashi, Okayama 716-0004, Japan

[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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