Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Japanese Castles 1540-1640 Imjin War book cover

Okayama Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Okayama Domain

1600 - 1602

Kobayakawa  Clan

510,000 Koku

1603 - 1632

Ikeda Clan

280,000 Koku

1632 - 1871

Ikeda Clan

310,000 Koku

Okayama Castle is classified as a flatland castle (its layout: Teikakushiki), and is located in Okayama Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Bizen Province. It is associated with the Ukita , Ikeda clans. Dates in use: 1597 - 1873.

The design of this castle is very unusual as the first floor is pentagon shaped. It is also quite visually striking with its stark black walls, white gables & gold-gilded roof tiles. This replica castle had actually survived to modern times before being lost in WWII. Within the castle grounds is the Tsukimi turret with another surviving turret relocated elsewhere in the city. On the northern edge of the castle is one of Japan's top 3 stroll gardens.


1573 Construction started on Okayama Castle by Ukita Naoie.
1597 Construction of the castle was completed.
1600 The Ukita clan were forced from this castle after siding with the losing faction in the Battle of Sekigahara. Kobayakawa Hideaki became lord of the castle.
1602 Following Hideaki's death the Ikeda clan were stationed here.
1634 The main tower was damaged by fire.
1873 The castle was abandoned.
1945 The main tower was burnt to the ground in WWII bombing.
1966 Several structures, including the main tower, were reconstructed.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
Tsukimi TurretImportant Cultural Property
Nishinomaru Nishite TurretImportant Cultural Property