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  • Long-distance view of Yamato Sanzan
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  • The giant tree and the stone-wall
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  • Stone-wall of Takatori Castle Ruins
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  • Takatori Castle Ruins in autumn
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  • High-stacked stone wall
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Takatoriyama Recreation Forest

14.19ha

Elevation  440–580m

The ruins of Takatori Castle, one of Japan's three great mountain castles

- Breathtaking views of the Nara plain and stone walls redolent of yesteryear -

The ruins of Takatori Castle, one of Japan's three great mountain castles

- Breathtaking views of the Nara plain and stone walls redolent of yesteryear -

Newest information
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Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Area
Kinki Chugoku
Activities
Flower-viewing Autumn leaf viewing Birdwatching Picnics Guided tours(Free of charge. No foreign languages spoken)
Overview
Geographical/topographical features
The summit of Mount Takatori in Takatoriyama Recreation Forest is located within Takatori Castle ruins, at an elevation of 583.6 m.
Historical/cultural features
Designated as a National Historic Site, Takatori Castle ruins cover a 1.13 ha area close to the summit of Mount Takatori, in Takatoriyama Recreation Forest. With the largest elevation difference of any early modern castle in Japan, it is considered to be one of Japan's three great mountain castles. Takatori Castle's history is said to date back to a subsidiary castle built by the powerful local Ochi clan in the Nanboku-cho period (mid- to late 14th century). Although the castle was subsequently abandoned by order of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hidenaga spotted its geographic importance and embarked on large-scale refurbishment work to turn it into a branch castle. During the Edo period, it served as the castle of 14 generations of the Uemura clan, rulers of Takatori Domain, from the time of the third shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu until the Meiji Restoration.
On the way down to the castle town from Takatoriyama Recreation Forest via Takatori Castle's Ninomon gate is the Saru-ishi (Monkey Stone), a stone statue of a monkey that dates back to the Asuka period (592–710) . Said to be an objet d’art that Empress Saimei had constructed in ancient times as a talking point in a place where visitors were offered hospitality, it was awarded the Japan Heritage designation in 2016.
Climate, flora and fauna
This warm temperate laurel forest is home to trees such as sugi, Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica); hinoki, Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa); momi, fir (Abies firma); hornbeam (Carpinus); keyaki, zelkova (Zelkova serrata); and shirakashi (Quercus myrsinaefolia Blume). The pink and purple flowers of Tsutsuji (Rhododendron reticulatum) are at their best in Spring, and visitors can savor the red and golden maple leaves in Fall. In addition, a giant Japanese cedar believed to be more than 200 years old can also be seen at the site of the ruins.
Oruri, blue-and-white flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana); rurikakesu, Lidth’s jay (Garrulus lidthi); and nihonrisu, Japanese squirrel (Sciurus lis) are among the creatures that live around the castle ruins in this lush vegetation.
Attractions
The mountain trail from Tsubosakayama Station (elevation 100 m) takes about 2 hours to climb and is aimed at strong walkers. The path to Takatori Castle ruins takes in such historic sites as the remains of a samurai residence and the Saru-ishi stone statue. Approaching the summit (elevation 580 m), climbers are greeted by the majestic sight of Takatori Castle's stone walls. The panoramic view from Takatori Castle ruins takes in the Yoshino and Omine mountains to the south and Osaka Bay, Yamato Sanzan (the three mountains of Yamato), and the whole of the Nara plain to the west.
Other
Takatori Castle is featured in Ryotaro Shiba's Kaido wo Yuku (“On the highways”), which states that its charm lies in the air of antiquity created by the fact that only the castle's walls still stand. Describing the mossy remains in the midst of the forest, Shiba writes, “At the risk of indulging in hyperbole, it inspired a vague sense of terror that gave me a glimmer of an insight into how the people who first entered Angkor Wat must have felt.”
Latest Information
Events
  • ・March: Machiya no Hina-meguri (Town House Hina Doll Tour): Tourists come to see the hina dolls displayed by each family in about a hundred homes and shops along the old Tosa Highway, in their front porches, on their verandas, or in their storefronts.
  • ・Mid- to late August: Takatori Castle Sengoku Hill Climb
  • ・October: Takatori-Tosa Townhouse Scarecrow Festival
  • ・November 23 (national holiday): Takatori Castle Festival (traditional costume parade and historical re-enactment with matchlock rifles)
Warnings
  • Wild boar, Japanese pit viper, ticks, Hornets
    (We recommend that visitors refrain from going trekking* in July and August.)
    The walk to Takatori Castle requires a level of equipment more suitable to light trekking than walking around town. It is dangerous to attempt the walk in sandals or high heels.
    Well (The site of the old well has been fenced off to prevent risk to visitors.)
    There is no guardrail around the castle ruins, so please pay attention at all times, to avoid falling off while distracted.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
None
Opening seasons and hours
Open 24 hours a day. (However, there is no outdoor lighting, so the forest effectively cannot be entered at night)
Accommodation options
There are no accommodation facilities in Takatori-cho, so visitors should use the accommodation facilities in nearby municipalities, such as Kashihara City, Gose City, Asuka-mura, and Oyodo-cho.
Facility
Toilets and drinking fountains Walking trail World Heritage Site / Cultural asset (nationally designated)(Designated as a National Historic Site(No signage in English))
Map
pdf
Address
Takatori-cho, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture
Access
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Takatoriyama Recreation Forest (Takatori Castle ruins) can be reached in 2 hours on foot from Tsubosakayama Station on the Kintetsu Yoshino Line via Tosa Historic Road through the old castle town.
  • Takatori Castle ruins can be reached in 1 hour on foot from Nara Kotsu Bus Tsubosakadera-mae bus stop(Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop)
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Osaka Station (JR Osaka Loop Line: 20 minutes) → alight at Tennoji Station (3 minutes on foot)→ Osaka Abenobashi Station (Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line Express bound for Yoshino: about 50 minutes) → Tsubosakayama Station
  • Kyoto(Kintetsu Kyoto Line: approx. 53 minutes)→Kashihara-Jungumae Station (Kintetsu Yoshino Line: approx. 7 minutes)→Tsubosakayama Station
  • Tsubosakayama Station (Nara Kotsu Bus: 11 minutes) → Tsubosakadera-mae bus stop
  • Kintetsu-Nagoya (Kintetsu Nagoya Line: approx. 1 hour)→Ise-Nakagawa (Kintetsu Osaka Line: approx. 50 minutes)→ Yamato-Yagi (Kintetsu Kashihara Line: approx. 6 minutes)→Kashihara-Jungumae Station (Kintetsu Yoshino Line: approx. 7 minutes)→Tsubosakayama Station (Nara Kotsu Bus: 11 minutes)→ Tsubosakadera-mae bus stop
By car
<Access>
  • ・Keinawa Expressway Gose IC → Pref. Route 118→ Pref. Route 35→Route 169→Pref. Route 119 (12 km; 30 minutes)
  • ・End of the Minamihanna Road→ Route 165 (End of Yamatotakada Elevated Bypass) → Route 24→Route 165→ Route 169→ Pref. Route 119 (21 km; 40 minutes)
  • ・Drivers must take care on the route from Tsubosaka-dera Temple to Takatori Castle ruins, as the roads are narrow
<Parking lot capacity / parking charges>

No parking available

Nearby tourist facilities
  • ・Minami Hokkeji Temple (Tsubosaka-dera Temple) has a parking lot (charge applies). Takatori Castle ruins are about 1 hour on foot from the parking lot.
Management office contact details
Nara Forest Administration Office
TEL:0742-53-1500
FAX:0742-53-1502
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
  • ・The historic Tosa Highway runs from Tsubosakayama Station to the foot of Takatori Castle. Along the way are small streams and narrow stone-paved lanes lined with old townhouses and storehouses redolent of yesteryear.
  • ・Takatori-cho flourished as a town famed for medicine, ever since the elegant medicine-gathering ceremony that was one of the events in the Imperial court calendar during the Asuka period (during this ceremony, which took place on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar, members of the court would go out into the hills to gather medicinal herbs and velvet antler from deer). Today, visitors to the town can take part in hands-on agricultural experiences on the theme of medicine and herbal medicine therapies.
Official Tourist Information
Takatori-cho Tourism Association / Takatori-cho Volunteer Tourist Guide Association [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Takatoriyama Recreation Forest Management Committee
(Town Planning Division, Takatori Municipal Office )
FAX: 0744(52)4063
Supporters
Other

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