Tsuwano Castle 津和野城跡
A castle that floats above it all—even the clouds
Perched 200 meters above the town and valley below, Tsuwano Castle was dismantled in the latter half of the 19th century, as many were, when Japan entered the modern age. All that remains are the impressive stone walls and foundations, but it is nonetheless worth visiting for the panoramic views.
How to Get There
You can reach the castle on foot or by chairlift.
For those feeling energetic, the trail up to the ruins takes about 40 minutes on foot. You can also take a chairlift as far as the first part of the castle ruins, though it is still a 15-minute walk to the main open area.
There were previous fortifications that have stood here since the 13th century, and once withstood a siege of one hundred days. The current castle was built in the early 17th century by Sakazaki Naomori. Constructed of wood, Japanese castles were prone to burning, and such was the case here. Two structures built after the last great fire in the mid-19th century remain at the base of the mountain.
Sea of clouds
During October and November, when the conditions are just right, Tsuwano becomes a “castle in the sky” when the valleys below are filled with clouds during the phenomenon known in Japanese as unkai. This only lasts for a few hours after sunrise, so you would need to hike up early in the morning.
Another stop to consider
While you're here, consider a visit to Taikodani Inari-jinja Shrine . The well-marked path begins a short way down the road from the shrine, with the chairlift a couple of minutes further down. The chairlift is two kilometers from Tsuwano Station.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.