Takeda Castle Ruins
Photo: M Andy/Shutterstock

Takeda Castle Ruins in Hyogo looks like Ghibli’s ‘Castle in the Sky’

This real-life floating castle above a sea of clouds should be on your Japan bucket list

By
Emma Steen
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Our list of places to visit once it’s safe to travel again is ever-growing with stunning national parks, snowy ski resorts and white sandy beaches (can summer come any sooner?). While we await the new Ghibli Park set to open in 2022, we’ve been eyeing places in Japan that resemble scenes from Ghibli films

As luck would have it, aside from historical hot springs and waterside train tracks reminiscent of ‘Spirited Away’, there’s a castle in Hyogo that looks like it's straight out of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1986 film ‘Castle in the Sky’. 

The Takeda Castle, located in the northern city of Asago in Hyogo Prefecture, was built in 1443 by the order of the famous general Sozen Yamana. Yamana then made his retainer, Mitsukage Otagaki, the first lord of the castle, and the Otagaki clan went on to rule the fortress for seven generations. 

After the castle was abandoned in 1600, its individual buildings gradually disintegrated. All that’s left today are the castle stone walls, which are curiously still intact even after nearly six centuries. 

The best time to view the castle is in autumn, when a sea of clouds forms around its perimeters around sunrise. The castle grounds are just twenty minutes on foot from the nearest bus stop (Takedajoseki). However, the Ritsuunkyo observation deck, where you can see the ruins from afar to capture the iconic view (pictured top), takes roughly an hour to reach from the trail’s base. 

See the castle’s official website for more information on opening times and admission fees. 

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