～The Castle In The Clouds～
Standing atop Mount Gagyu at an elevation of 430 meters, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is the highest castle in Japan and the only mountain castle still having its original keep, which has been designated an Important Cultural Property. Visit from autumn to spring, and if conditions are just right, you’ll be rewarded with the magical sight of the castle seemingly floating in a sea of clouds.
◆A historic castle with a keep that has stood for over 300 years
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is located in Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture. Situated in a basin surrounded by beautiful mountains, the castle town is also known as the Little Kyoto of Bitchu. The castle that symbolizes the city was originally built in 1240 (during the Kamakura period). It later underwent large-scale repairs in 1683 (during the Edo period), when the current keep was built. Three of the castle’s original components survive to this day: The keep, the two-storey turret and a section of mud wall. The castle’s construction exploits the natural features of Mount Gagyu, as exemplified by the exquisite combination of large natural rocks and manmade stone walls. Standing on natural bedrock, the majestic keep and two-storey turret exist in perfect harmony with nature.
◆The sea of clouds from September to April and autumn leaves are highly recommended
It’s as if the entire mountain is part of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle. The walk from Fuigo Toge Car Park to the castle keep takes about 20 minutes. As it’s a mountain path, we recommend wearing shoes suitable for hiking. From September to April, a sea clouds often appears in the early morning. The sight of the castle floating in the clouds is truly magical, and the reason it’s often referred to as the Castle in the Sky. What’s more, when the leaves turn red in autumn, the scene is truly breath-taking.