Takada Castle can be found in Niigata's Joetsu City and is well known throughout Japan for being one of Japan's "3 Top Sakura Spots" thanks to its beautiful cherry blossom trees. Not only this but thanks to Tokugawa Ieyasu's prowess, it's said that this castle was built in just 4 short months, there are so many interesting things to learn about and see at this amazing location!
Niigata, Joetsu - Takada Castle's History
Takada Castle was built in Joetsu, Niigata, by Tokugawa Ieyasu's sixth son Matsudaira Tadateru in 1610, after becoming the ruler of the Takada Domain, over 13 large name families took part in the construction of the castle based on the Tenka Bushin in 1614. Takada Castle is a castle on the plains, but where it differs from other castles of this type, is that it doesn't make use of stone walls, but instead uses the surrounding river and earthen walls as a defense. It also doesn't have a castle tower, and instead, a three-story pagoda, which was said to be used as a castle tower. During the Seige of Osaka, it is theorized that they did not have the opportunity to gather enough stone for this structure. The castle was said to have been built in a short 4-month time span! Furthermore, the river is natural and is extremely wide when compared to others of the same type.
Takada Castle's Restored Three-story Pagoda
The original 3-story pagoda of Takada Castle was lost in 1870 due to fire. Not just this, but 3 years later, it was due to be destroyed and the castle was passed on to the army, with many of the buildings that were unharmed by the fire planned to be destroyed anyway. In 1993, to celebrate the 20th year since Joetsu's founding in Niigata, the 3-story pagoda was rebuilt as a symbol of Takada Castle. Currently, floors 1 and 2 display documents relating to the castle, while floor 3 is used as an observation deck from which you can lookout. The park surrounding the castle is a historic landmark, with various cultural and sports-related facilities, and pathways to explore the outside, it's often used by locals.
4,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees
Many Japanese castles become extremely beautiful once the cherry blossom period rolls around, and with this comes many visitors and sightseers. Takada Castle is known as one of Japan's Top 3 castles for cherry blossoms, making it an extremely popular location. There are over 4,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees that surround the castle and its park. There is a festival that takes place during this time known as the "Takada Castle Public Cherry Blossom Viewing Party" which you can take part in. Around 3,000 of the trees are lit up at night, allowing for a "Sakura Road", which truly is a sight to behold. It's enough to take your breath away we assure you. On the average year, the castle and park see an astounding 1,200,000 visitors from all over the country and from abroad.
Chosen as one of Japan's "Top 3 Castles at Night"
There are many "Top 3" things in Japan, castles, night sceneries, cherry blossoms, etc. In 2014, over 4,300 locations were looked at to receive Japan's "night view" award, it was narrowed down to 6 eventually before Osaka Castle, Kochi Castle, and Takada Castle were chosen to receive this award as "Japan's Top 3 Night View Castles".
- Location Name：Takada Castle（Takada Park）
- Address：Niigata, Joetsu, Motoshirocho, ４４−1
- Open Hours：9:00～17:00
- Holidays：Monday (In the event Monday is a public holiday the following day), Days following a public holiday, Dec 29 - Jan 3 (Open during GW & Summer Holidays, certain locations may be closed)
- Fee：General Fee 310 JPY, Elementary / Middle school Students 160JPY
- Access：30-minute walk from "Takada Station" using the Tokitetsu / Myoko Haneuma Line / 5-minute walk after debarking Kubiki bus at Takada Park Entrance