The term "night castle" is probably not one that you hear very often, but it refers to the form of a castle and how it changes from day to night. Japan has many different "Top 3" rankings including the top 3 night-time sceneries, the top 3 locations for seeing cherry blossoms, and many more with over 4,300 awards being given out across Japan as of 2014, the test for the castle with the best night time scenery sees 6 different tests with Osaka Castle, Kochi Castle, and Takada Castle taking the top spots. Let's take a look at why they stood out from the crowd.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a given tourist spot when visiting Osaka, and is a landmark located at the center of the 105.6ha public park. The current castle keep was built in 1931 thanks to the efforts of local residents. The nighttime illumination has been a popular tourist and local attraction since its founding. From 1952 onwards it was decided that the tower would be lit up every night, with the current design being created during 1997 including various illuminations and decorations to see, being partly lit up at sunset and fully lit up during the night, a performance that continues as the night draws closer is certainly a unique experience.

Within the park, there are other locations that are lit up during the night including the cherry blossoms during the spring meaning there are many things to see and do here during your visit.

Kochi Castle

Kochi Castle has seen many celebrities over its time including the Japanese samurai and influential figure of the Bakumatsu and establishment of the Empire of Japan in the late Edo period "Sakamoto Ryōma". One of its most popular features being how easy it is to get both the castle gate and tower in the same picture. The castle sees great numbers of people visiting not only to check out the amazing lighting during the night but also for the many events which take place over the 4 seasons of the year.

In spring you can check out what's known as "Kochi Castle's Corridor of Flowers". This event sees flowers lit up from the gate all the way to the castle tower, cherry blossom trees, and a great number of beautiful colors! In the summer you can check out the "Kochi Castle Summer Night Festival" where you can see a collaboration between wind chimes and colored candles. For fall, we have a similar, yet unique, "Kochi Castle Fall Night Festival", where you can see much of the same thing but in the colors and atmosphere of fall! Similarly, in winter there's the "Kochi Castle Winter Night Festival" which has an almost otherwordly atmosphere including colored candles and illuminations. These amazing and varied events are just one of the many reasons Kochi Castle was chosen as one of Japan's top 3!

Takada Castle

Out of these 3 castles, this is easily the winner when it comes to the illumination of cherry blossom trees. In 1926, thanks to sponsorship, paper-covered lanterns were placed along the riverside. Currently, this is known as the "Takada Castle 1 Million Sakura Viewing Party", which takes place alongside the illumination of Takada Castle's 3 watchtowers. The scene brings people from overseas and local alike with over 3,000 lanterns that can be seen reflecting on the water creating an amazing scene.

Another popular spot here is known as the "Sakura Road" which is a corridor of cherry blossom trees. Not only has Takada Castle received a reward for its night-time scenery, but it also has a reward for its night-time cherry blossom scenery! Takada Castle being able to show some of Japan's most well-known nighttime scenery culture is just one of the reasons why it was chosen to receive this prestigious award.

Want to know more? Check out this article! → Famous Castle Series - Takada Castle, Niigata's Famous Cherry Blossom & Light-up Spots