Japan’s Machu Picchu

It’s billed as Japan’s Machu Picchu but in my eyes, Takeda Castle is far more like Japan’s ‘Edoras’. The ruins of this fortified citadel lie perched atop a big hill in the midst of a wide mountain ringed valley in Hyogo Prefecture. But sadly this ‘Edoras’ is under siege.

The official tourism line would have you believe that Takeda Castle is tucked away in a terribly remote corner of Japan, miles from civilization, to be visited by only a priviledged few. Wrong. There’s a railway station directly below on one side of the mountain, a national tollway on the other, plus a car park halfway up the mountain itself. Even the road to the top is mostly a paved road. But don’t be discouraged from visiting, for it is indeed a magnificent place. It’s just that the disparity between image and reality is a bit jolting.

The one big thing that Takeda Castle has going for it is that the site is open 24/7, meaning that if you’re staying in the town below or have a car, there’s no limit on your exploration time. Be sure to visit while this is still the case.