Want to Visit Somewhere in Kyoto Other than Temples? Visit Shoryuji Castle!
Kyoto has many famous sites. Most people visit the area to see its well-known temples and shrines, but sometimes you need a break from that.
One of the most over looked places in Kyoto is Shoryuji Castle. Located in Nagaokakyo City, which is still in Kyoto prefecture, it is only around ten minutes by train from downtown Kyoto.
The end of March and early April are the most popular times to visit this castle for its cherry and plum blossoms.
If you can make it in spring, November is also a good time to go because they hold the annual Garasha Matsuri there.
Hosokawa Yoriharu built the castle in the early 1300s. It was mainly used as a stronghold, but it did serve a larger purpose in the Onin War. Infamous Oda Nobunaga conquered the castle, much like most others in the area.
After his death, the castle managed to survive another series of wars. By the end the castle was in poor condition and had no one to take care of it.
Luckily all of that changed and Shoryuji Castle has since been restored. Today visitors can enjoy exploring both floors of the castle.
The first floor doesn’t have much as it’s mainly a meeting area with some vending machines and the washrooms. However, the second floor has nice exhibitions relating to the castle’s history and the surrounding area.
Back outside there is a nice park where you can stroll around. You’ll find statues of Tadaoki Hosokawa and Garasha Hosokawa. Garasha, whom the festival is named after, was the daughter of the samurai who was responsible for Nobunaga’s death.
She was a Christian convert and rumors believe that the Vatican canonized Garasha a saint in 1862, which is why the festival is celebrated for her.
While a visit to this castle won’t exactly make or break your trip, it’s a great option for when you’re in Kyoto with extra time. Like most Japanese castles, the grounds are a nice place to spend the afternoon soaking up the culture and history behind them.
Address: Japan, 〒617-0836 京都府長岡京市勝竜寺１３－１
[post by Beth]
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