Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Kochi Castle


Kochi Castle is not one of the biggest Japanese castles, but is known as being the best preserved.

Whereas only 12 Japanese castles still have their original tenshu, central tower or keep, Kochi castle is the only one that retains all of the original structures within the Honmaru, or inner bailey.

This includes the Daimyo's "palace" which was attached to the main keep.

Kochi Castle is situated on top of a small hill in the middle of what is now Kochi City on the southern coast of Shikoku.

Fortifications had been built upon the hill, Otakayama, during the late Heian or Early Kamakura Periods, After being defeated by Hideyoshi in 1585, Motochika Chosokabe started to build a new castle on top of the older fortifications, but because the area was prone to flooding moved to Urado on the coast to the south.

In 1600, following the Battle of Sekigahara, control of the domain was given to the Yamauchi Clan and they decided Urado castle was not suitable so began enlarging the castle on Otakayama which was renamed Kawanakayama Castle and later Kochi Castle.

A major fire burned down most of the castle in 1727 and it was rebuilt from 1729 until 1753. Most of the current buildings date from this period.

As well as the main keep and the Daimyo's palace, six gates still remain.

The Yamanouchi held the castle until it was decommissioned in 1868.

It was spared the government ordered destruction that befell the vast majority of Edo Period castles, and also was unscathed during the bombings of WWII

Major repairs were undertaken in the postwar period. Just outside the castle is a castle museum with extensive displays.

I visited at the end of my 16th day walking the Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage. The previous post in this series was Hata Shrine. The previous castle I posted about was Tsuyama Castle.


  1. An interesting and timely post! Kochi is on my itinerary for a trip next year. Looking forward to seeing it.

  2. wonderful ! thank you !