With their elegant structure, Japanese castles are impressive feats of architecture and cultural treasures. Even long after the era of daimyo (feudal lords), Japan has endeavored to preserve its castles as symbols of its rich heritage. Many of today’s remaining castles now double as museums, but Ehime’s Ozu Castle and Nagasaki’s Hirado Castle, taking the castle experience to the next level, have reopened as hotels offering unforgettable custom stays.
Both overlooking scenic townscapes, Ozu and Hirado Castle allow guests to experience the opulent lifestyle of a daimyo. Though the castles’ interiors have been infused with contemporary touches and refurbished to add modern comforts like bathtubs and sofas, designers have taken great pains to remain faithful to the castles’ original aesthetic. Guests will sleep in comfort and dine in luxury, feasting on artfully presented multi-course meals showcasing local specialties.
Guests can also take part in an array of cultural experiences. Those seeking the rare and unique can enter Ozu Castle on horseback while receiving a rousing welcome from armored samurai, or experience a tea ceremony in the chinshin-ryu style, which was practiced by feudal warlords, at Hirado Castle — the only place in Japan where this ceremony is open to the public.