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Built by Takatora Todo, known for his excellent castle design skills in the Edo period, Imabari Castle is a unique castle on the sea, which is triple-moated with water pulled from the sea. He innovated the state of the art, square-shaped base structure, which became a model for building castles afterward. It is one of "the Three Biggest Umijiro (castles on the sea) in Japan" and "Japan's Top 100 Castles." They exhibit about 250 items in total of the valuable armor, weapons, and other historical materials inside the six story and five-layered donjon keep. In the two tower-tops, they exhibit artworks. These days the castle is illuminated every night, being designed by an illumination designer, which is fantastic and attracts more fans.
- 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari-shi, Ehime
- Contact No.
- Take a bus for 9 min from JR Imabari Station bound for Imabari-eigyosho and get off at Imabari-jo mae bus stop.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 30 minutes
- Admission fee
- 500 yen
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Inside the Donjon Keep
Inside the donjon keep is the exhibition hall and the observatory. Many valuable materials such as weapons, calligraphy works, swords, arquebus, armors that the domain lord used to wear are on display. The restored interior smells of wood, and you may be able to imagine the days when the castle was built.
View from the Top Floor
Since Imabari Castle is called "umijiro," a castle on the sea, the blue sky and the Seto Inland Sea will be stretching before you. You will see the port town, the sea road, and ships going by, and on a fine day, beautiful ridge lines of mountains and islands will be clearly seen.
The Statue of the Lord of the Castle: Takatora Todo
After passing through the gate, there is the statue of Takatora Todo, the builder and owner of the castle. He doesn't wear a suit of a feudal armor or headpiece on the statue, which is rare for a feudal warlord. Because during the Edo period when Imabari Castle was built were peaceful right after the Sengoku Era (the age of provincial wars) was over. The statue stands to face toward the Tokugawa Shogun. The horse looks like he is bowing too in respect.
Uncommon Moat Drawing Water from the Sea
Imabari Castle was the key spot of maritime traffic, and its structure fully leveraged the coastal location. The vast moat is tripled, and water was drawn into it from the sea, which is uncommon in Japan. It is one of the renowned umijiro (castles on the sea), and ships could come into the moat directly from the sea at that time. In this seawater moat, of course, there are sea creatures, such as black sea bream, prawns, puffer fish, and even sharks.
Night Time Light-up by Illumination Designer
The castle is lit up every night with 100 pieces of lighting being designed by an illumination designer. The castle surrounded by the vast moat is profiled more fantastically with illumination. The castle reflected on the surface of the water is also brilliant.