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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Takeda Castle Ruins

竹田城跡

Takeda Castle ruins are located in Hyogo Prefecture and can be accessed via the Bantan Line between Himeji and Asago. When you reach the train station you will find an information center there. Please notice the bamboo hiking sticks and take one.

Takeda Castle Ruins Hyogo


On the other side of the train track lies a trail leading up to the mountain top. I ascended to the mountain via this path and I must tell you right away: Don't climb this trail unless you are accustomed to hiking regularly. The way is rough and difficult, and I wished I had not done it. I walk a great deal, but that did not translate into an easy climb.

Takeda Castle Walk


At the very least, I was fortunate to have the walking stick for help. Instead, take a taxi to the parking lot. You will still have to walk a bit before you reach the castle ruins, but the road is paved. If you really want to hike the trail, I recommend taking it on the way back to the train station when it's downhill and gravity works as your ally.

When my daughter and I saw the castle ruins we were completely awed. The castle must have been enormous. It was constructed in 1414 by Ohtagaki Mitsukage, a samurai and military commander for the Yamana Clan. Hideyoshi conquered and took the castle in 1577. The last lord was Akamatsu Hirohide, and he supported Ieyasu on the battlefield at Sekigahara in 1600; later that year, however, he committed seppuku and Takeda Castle was soon abandoned.

Takeda Castle


There are no railings or fences to spoil the ambiance of the environment, which we both appreciated. We knew it would have been different in the USA, where somebody would inevitably engage in risky behavior, fall off the mountain, and then claim no personal responsibility for his actions.

Takeda Castle has been referred to as the "Machu Piccu of Japan" and the "Castle in the Sky." When the fog rolls in, the castle seems to float among the clouds.

Takeda Castle map

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