The Amazing Kochi Castle!
The only castle where you can see the oute gate and the keep tower together
Kochi Castle is located in Kochi City in Kochi Prefecture. Only three castles in Japan—Hirosaki Castle, Marugame Castle, and Kochi Castle—retain both the oute-mon (main front gate) and the keep. Moreover, Kochi Castle is the only castle where you can see the keep tower from the oute gate.
These rare features make Kochi Castle very popular among castle enthusiasts. I have visited many castles in Japan, and it was thrilling to be able to take a photo including the oute gate and the keep tower together at Kochi Castle.
Kochi Castle was built by Yamauchi Katsutoyo, a Sengoku Warrior, in the beginning of the Edo period (1600’s). It was a huge construction project involving more than 1,200 people every day, and it is said that Katsutoyo himself encouraged the workers as they labored.
Much of the original fortress (except the oute gate) was burned down in 1727. What we see now is a reconstruction in the original style. In Meiji 6 (1873), Kochi Castle was renamed Kochi Park by the Ordinance Abolishing Castles, and was opened to the general public. The castle was designated as an Important Cultural Asset later, and it was repaired in Heisei 20 (2008). After persisting through all this history, Kochi Castle now has a beautiful appearance.
Kochi Castle is also famous for the well-defended nature of its structure. Protective devices are present atop the wall to defend against invasion. It is hard to believe that the castle was built in the stable and peaceful Edo era. I love Kochi Castle, which is not only beautiful, but also well-fortified.