Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, Takahashi, Japan
Matsuyama Castle, also called Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle to differentiate it from Matsuyama Castle in Shikoku, stands on a steep mountain north of Takahashi’s town center. It is the oldest surviving castle in Japan and the only mountaintop castle among the twelve original castles which have survived the post-feudal age intact. At an elevation of 430 meters it is also Japan’s highest.
Matsuyama Castle was originally constructed in 1240 when castles primarily served as defensive fortresses and, accordingly, were built on steep mountains that were difficult to attack. They were not the great status symbols and administrative and cultural centers yet that castles became in the 16th century when the lords started to build them on more easily accessible hilltops and in the flatlands.
Epic Japan Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound