Japan's Famous Castle Series - Wakayama Castle - The Cornerstone of Wakayama's History and a Popular Sightseeing Spot
Wakayama Prefecture can be found in the south of the Kansai Region on Japan's main island just a short 1-hour train ride from Kansai's capital Osaka. It's filled with many famous and popular sightseeing spots such as the mystical Kumano Kodo Street or the resort-like Nanki Shirahama. Wakayama is filled with nature, mountains, the ocean, and more, all of which surround the amazing Wakayama Castle that sits in the center of the park. Let's take a closer look at Wakayama Castle in this article.
Wakayama Castle's History
The history of this castle begins in 1585 when Toyotomi Hideyoshi asked his younger brother Toyotomi Hidenaga to build the castle. After that, the Battle of Sekigahara took place, during which a coalition-type castle tower was built alongside various estates within the castle grounds being the main, secondary, and west grounds. Many castle towns were also erected around the vicinity of the castle. The castle tower was destroyed in 1846 when it was hit by lightning and was rebuilt in 1850. Furthermore, the castle tower was destroyed a second time in 1945 due to natural disasters, with the current tower being one that was rebuilt in 1958.
A Strangely Built Castle in Japan
Wakayama Castle's tower is one that can be seen for miles around and is one of the largest in scale out of all castle towers in the whole of Japan. With the watchtower and castle tower being different shapes, it is one of 3 in Japan with this unique style alongside Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. If you're a lover of castles, this is one location you cannot afford to miss out on visiting.
Things to See at Wakayama Castle
See the Whole of Wakayama City from the Castle Tower
This white-walled castle tower is 3 stories tall. It's the perfect panorama spot to look out onto the entire city of Wakayama. The main tower building is a museum and contains many documents and such relating to the House of Tokugawa. As night approaches, you're able to watch the sun setting into the ocean.
The Diagonal Bridged Walkway!
Within Wakayama Castle's grounds, there are many other spots filled with history other than the castle itself. One of these is the Diagonal Bridged Walkway pictured above. Looking at it from outside you can see it has a roof and is slanted downwards. In the past, this walkway connected the western and secondary castle grounds, only used by the castle owner and villagers living within the grounds. It's very rare to see a slanted bridge walkway such as this, and the floor within the walkway has special materials in place to help prevent slipping. Currently, anyone can visit and check out the bridge completely free of charge! Make sure to check it out if you're visiting the castle!
A Zoo in the Castle Grounds?!
Within Wakayama Castle's grounds, there's even a small zoo which you can enter and check out for free. Currently, there are over 49 types and 167 animals in the zoo (February 2021). There are even 2 world-famous Kishu dogs being raised here!
An Unexpected Appearance of Ninjas!
At Wakayama Castle, you may find yourself being greeted by some quite friendly ninjas! They are doing performances all around the park for visitors. They may even be blending into the walls of the castle, so keep an eye out! You can check the schedule of these ninjas on the official website, so if you want to meet them yourself make sure to check beforehand.
Nishinomaru Garden's Beautiful Autumn Leaves
Nishinomaru Garden is said to have been created during the Edo Period of Japan. Its autumn leaves are so famous it's also sometimes called the "Autumn Valley Park". Every year many locals and tourists come to see the leaves in all of their splendor.
Feel the Four Seasons at Wakayama Castle
Wakayama Castle is surrounded by nature, meaning that each and every season has a unique view for you to see. The cherry blossoms here are especially famous. All of the cherry blossoms suddenly bloom to life in spring, surrounding the castle in a pink snow-like blanket that attracts not only tourists but the local residents as well.
On the topic of snow, make sure to check out the snow-covered castle if you're visiting in winter. It's a site you won't forget!
Extra: Check out the Wakayama City Municipal Office Viewing Space to See the Castle in All of its Glory!
If you want to check out the castle in all of its glory, we highly recommend checking out the viewing platform at the Wakayama Municipal Office! It's around a 20-minute walk from the castle. Great for pictures!
- Name： Wakayama Castle（Castle Tower）
- Address：3 Ichibanchō, Wakayama, 640-8146
- Open Hours：9:00〜17:30（Last Entry is at 17:00）
- Holidays： New Year's Period（12/29～12/31）
- Entrance Fee：Adult 410 JPY / Child (Elementary / Middle school) 200 JPY
- Access：5-minute bus ride from JR Wakayama Station / 10-minute walk from Nankai Electric Railway Wakayama Station