A few days ago when I was busy browsing on the net, there was one article link on a website that stole my attention. I don’t remember what the title exactly was, neither was the website name. But more or less, the title was similar to something like this: “Takeda Castle, Japan’s Machu Picchu” (yes, Picchu, not Pikachu).
Machu Picchu! Inca! Wohoho! I exactly love all the things about history and archaelogy, especially about the history of human civilization. Not to mention that when I was studying Architecture, I once had a lecture about history of human civilization (or was it history of architecture development? I don’t remember!). Stories about the pioneer of modern civilizations such as the cities like Mohenjo-daro, Inca tribe, Maya, and Aztec, never failed to amaze me.
Combined with my interest in Japan culture, the tagline “Japan’s Machu Picchu” had successfully flamed my curiousity. How could it be not! Although I passed my geography class with just “alright”, at least I know if Machu Picchu, which is in Peru, clearly has nothing to do with Japan. So how come there is a Machu Picchu in Japan?
Unfortunately, there are no much informations that I could get regarding Takeda Castle on that short article I read. So to satisfy my curiousity, I gathered some informations regarding that castle, which is dubbes as palace beyond the sky. And i would also share interesting pictures that I can find about Takeda Castle. Who knows, maybe anyone of you wants to come around to Japan’s Machu Picchu someday.
Takeda Castle, is located on Asago city, Hyogo perfecture. It is still on the same perfecture with Himeji Castle, the most popular castle in Japan that I have ever discussed here. The history of Takeda Castle is believed to start on 1441 (some said it was 1431). It was told that Ohtagaki Mitsukage, a ruler of the area, commanded to build this castle as a fortress for Izushi Castle.
I was actually writing about Takeda Castle. But as a matter of fact, that castle no longer exists, there were just the ruins of it. So, after Takeda Castle was conquered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi on 1557, this castle changed its ownership for many times. After the last conqueror, Akamatsu Hirohide, commited suicide around 1600’s, this castle got abandoned and now there are just the fondations remain.
What’s interesting about Takeda Castle
Up to this point, some of you might be wondering, what is so good about visiting a castel ruins? How come Takeda Castle be dubbed as Japan’s Machu Picchu and Castle in the Sky?
The popularity of Takeda Castle was believed to be encouraged by a movie titled “Anata e”, which can be translated as “dearest” (starred by Ken Takakura). On 2012, the movie did the shooting on the ruins of Takeda Castle. In an instance, the amount of people visiting Takeda Castle gets higher and higher.
Tourists who have visited there, spreading the informations that lurk other tourists to visit too. And finally Takeda Castle is now widely known. Last news I heard, Takeda Castle has now claimed to be one of 100 most popular castles in Japan. To get into the ruins, you need to pay about ¥300*.
The main attraction of Takeda Castle is its position which is right on the mountain top. On particular time, usually it is around morning on winter, the palace ruins is all covered in thick fog.
Due to the thick fog, Takeda Castle looks like it is on the cloud and touches the sky, and from this castle sometimes we can enjoy the astonishing view of oceanic cloud. That is where the term “castle in the sky” came from.
Other attraction from Takeda Castle definitely lies on the ruins itself. Even though there are just the foundations remaining for now, the size of this ruins is pretty amazing. Takeda Castle streched about 400 meters from north to south, and 100 meters from east to west.
Combined with its position which is on the mountain top, this what makes it considered as Japan’s Machu Picchu. Well indeed, the heigh is still far less than the real Machu Picchu which reaches up to 2430 meters. Takeda Castle is “just” 354 meters high above the sea level. But the majestic ruins and its plus position on the heigh, has made this castle to give out the atmosphere similar to Machu Picchu. Japanese version, for sure.
Other interesting point is, because the position is right on the mountain top, from this castle ruins, visitors can enjoy the 360-degree of views surrounding it, including to see the city below. The atmosphere is relatively calm, though as the popularity of Takeda Castle increases, this place begins to be visited a lot more by tourists.
Best time to visit Takeda Castle is on autumn, because at that time, the trees on mountains around have already changed colors and the scenery is absolutely amazing.
How to Access Takeda Castle
Nearest station to reach this castle is through Takeda Station. As Hyogo perfecture is located in Kansai, it is easiest to reach the station from Osaka than from Tokyo.
From Osaka Station: take a ride on LTD.EXP Konotori 1, get off on Wadayama Station. Transfer to JR Bantan Line, get off at Takeda Station. Total budget need is ¥4710* (¥2590* for the ticket, ¥2120* for the seat), total duration is 165 minutes.
After reaching Takeda Station, there are 2 options to reach Takeda Castle. If your body is fit and you like hiking, you can take the hiking trail. It requires about 30-60 minutes of walking to reach this castle ruins.
But if you have health issues (such as backbone problem like me), take a bus or taxi might be a more “humane” option. Additional info, as Takeda Station is small, the train only comes every 2 hours. So if you have a chance to visit this place, make sure to pay good attention to the arriving and departure schedule of the train from Takeda Station.
* Prices may change unexpectedly.
* All pictures were taken through creative commons. There are no editting from the original pictures. Name credits are based on the username on flickr/wikimedia.
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