Japan has magnificent castles scattered all over the country and each of them is a delight for our eyes as they bring us to a journey through Japan’s culture, history and customs. Even though the castles can be enjoyed every season, in this article I will introduce a few special ones that look so amazingly beautiful during the winter season.

1. Matsumoto Castle (松本城)

Matsumoto Castle holds many events during this season and not only is it a national treasure that residents of Nagano prefecture are proud of, but it is also surrounded by nature and offers us a serene landscape during winter and New Year Holidays.

Matsumoto Castle Official Website


2. Yokote Castle in Akita Prefecture

Once called “Asakura Castle”, the Yokote Castle in Akita Prefecture has a long and very interesting history. It is said that the castle was built around the year 1550 and during Meiji Period year 1 (1868), it burnt up in the Boshin War and was reconstructed in Showa year 40 (1965) under the name of Yokote Castle. Ever since, it has gained a lot of popularity due to its panoramic view and many tourists come just to see the fantastic scenery it has to offer.

A popular event during winter is the Yokote Snow Festival, held every year in the Yokote City where Kamakura (domes in different sizes) are placed in various locations of the city. You can also enjoy amazake and the traditional mochi (soft rice cakes) while enjoying the illumination and the castle covered in the snow surrounded by lit up Kamakura.


3. The Castle in the sky: Echizenono Castle in Fukui Prefecture

The Echizen Ono Castle in the Ono City of Fukui Prefecture is one of the most amazing castles I’ve ever seen. The idyllic scenery you can see during autumn and winter will make it seem like there is no ground and create the illusion that the castle is floating above the clouds, from there the name “castle in the sky”. However, this only occurs during the cold season, so this time of the year is the most appropriate to visit it.

The castle is closed from December to March, so even though you can enjoy it from outside, you won’t be able to visit the inside of the castle. You can, however, enjoy the snow-lights, winter fireworks and the “Yui no Kuni Echizen ono Winter Story” event during February. The city offers a fantastic atmosphere, the locals are very kind, there are many traditional foods you can try out and you’ll be surrounded by impressive scenery offered by Mother Nature and the majestic Echizen Ono Castle.


4. Goryokaku- Shining bright over Hakodate

This beautiful star-shaped fort in Hakodate was built in the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, at the end of Edo to protect Hakodate from the threat of Western powers.

In Taisho year 3 (1914), Goryokaku Fort was opened to the public and transformed into an enjoyable and relaxing park where people from all around Hokkaido started to gather. Now it is very popular due to the view you can see from above especially during winter when the star shines brightly over Hakodate and offers a romantic and pleasant view to the tourists. A 107 meters high observation tower, Goryokaku Tower is right next to the fort and many people go there so they can see the whole picture of the star-shaped citadel together with the winter lights from December to February and the snow carpet sprawled on it.


If you visit Japan, I hope you have the chance to see these beautiful places with your own eyes and create a memorable time with your beloved ones during this wonderful time of the year.

By - cinnamonellie.