via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association
Marugame Castle (or “Marugame-jo” in Japanese) was built around 400 years ago on the top of Mt. Kameyama, located to the south of central Marugame. It is a “hirayamajiro,” a castle built on a hill or mountain, and is counted among the 100 best castles in Japan. One of the highlights is the stone wall by the inner moat, which is over 60 meters tall, making it the tallest of the kind in the country. The stone wall features a fan-shaped slope, which gives it a very unique and elegant form. It is the beauty and magnificence of the stone wall, which has weathered hundreds of years, that make this castle so iconic.
Another famous image is that of the white main keep, or “tenshu.” The keep, which has three levels, was completed in 1660, making it the oldest in Shikoku. It is one of only 12 surviving castle keeps completed before the Edo period. Known as the “smallest castle in Japan,” the keep has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the national government. Looking out from the castle, you can see the whole of the Marugame Plain below; if the weather is good enough, you can also see the Seto-ohashi Bridges that connect Shikoku and Honshu Islands, and even Okayama Prefecture on the opposite side of the beautiful expanse of the Inland Sea.
The castle area is relatively hilly, but it can be covered in only an hour or so, walking slowly to allow yourself a good look at the stone wall and the surrounding views. Marugame Castle is also a well-known spot for cherry blossom: The “Marugame Sakura” festival is held in April, and the “Marugame Oshiro” festival in May every year.
INFORMATION - MARUGAME CASTLE
[Address] Ichibancho Marugame, Kagawa
[Opening Hours] 9:00 - 16:30 *Shiroyama (the castle mountain) is always accessible
[Closed] December 25 - 31
[Admission] Adult 200 yen (over 16), Children 100 yen (over six)
By train: 10 min walk from JR Marugame station
By car: 10 min drive from Sakaide IC *Free parking available