Wakayama Castle 和歌山城
Dramatic castle in western Japan with lush gardens and easy access to the adjacent modern art museum
Wakayama Castle's keep and Daimyo Garden look as striking as they once were in the Edo period. The original keep was destroyed by fire during the bombing of the castle during the Pacific War, but has been faithfully restored.
- Having a cup of matcha green tea with Japanese sweets in a tea room in the beautiful Nishi-no-Maru gardens
- Samurai armor and weapons on display in the museum in the keep
- Okaguchi Gate, one of the few original structures
How to Get There
Wakayama Castle is a 20-minute walk from JR Wakayama Station or a 10-minute walk from Nankai Wakayama-shi Station.
JR Wakayama Station can be reached in 1 hour from Shin-Osaka Station and 1.5 hours from Kyoto Station. From the station, take a bus to Wakayama Castle.
Wakayama Castle is one of Japan's "Three Great Coalition Flatland Mountain Castles," along with Iyo-Matsuyama and Himeji Castle
The curved castle walls are original, and were designed to fit the contours of the hill
The expansive castle grounds are Wakayama's go-to spot for cherry-blossom picnics in the spring
A center of historical happenings
In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered the building of Wakayama Castle. Construction of Osaka Castle had begun two years previously and he appointed his brother to oversee the building of this new, grand castle to control the important Kii Peninsula. The castle was occupied by one of the three most important Tokugawa sub-branches after the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867). Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the castle keep was designated a National Treasure. Unfortunately, the keep was destroyed by fire during the Pacific War, but was rebuilt in the 1950s.
Tea leaves and autumn leaves
The extensive castle grounds are are a favourite spot for cherry blossom viewing in spring, but can also be enjoyed when visiting in autumn. Come fall, the castle's traditional Nishi-no-Maru Teien Garden (also called Momiji-Dani, "Valley of Autumn Leaves") is bedecked in vibrant gold, yellow, and red foliage. Stop by the tea house for a cup of matcha tea and enjoy the autumn scenery.
Dig deeper into Wakayama's feudal history
If you are interested in the history of the castle, make a stop at the Wakayama Historical Center in the park. Keep hold of your castle admission ticket and use it to enter the center. The exhibition contains valuable documents, drawings and excavated artefacts that have been preserved.Original gold seals used by the Kishu Tokugawa family are also on display. In the center's theatre, visitors can watch VR videos on the history of the castle and the reconstruction of the keep.
Modern art in ancient grounds
After getting your fill of the dramatic castle history, take a short walk south of the park for a more modern cultural experience. The Museum of Modern Art Wakayama has a collection of 10,000 art pieces, including a wealth of traditional woodcut prints and work by local artists. There are also pieces from global art giants such as Picasso and Rothko.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.