Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Imjin War book cover Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty

Takamatsu Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Takamatsu Domain

1600 - 1640

Ikoma Clan

171,000 Koku

1642 - 1871

Matsudaira  Clan

120,000 Koku

Takamatsu Castle is classified as a flatland castle (its layout: Rinkakushiki), and is located in Kagawa Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Sanuki Province. It is associated with the Ikoma, Matsudaira (Mito) clans. Dates in use: 1590 - 1869.

Sizable sections of Takamatsu castle's stonework and most of the Edo-period turrets & gates had been dismantled after the fief system was abolished in 1869. A handful of buildings have managed to survive though, and at present, major efforts are underway to restore much of what remains. There is even a chance we'll be seeing a fully-restored main tower in the coming years.

Recent years have seen some big changes taken place. Since my visit here in November 2001, a covered walkway spanning the moat between the Ni-no-maru & the main enclosure was built. Years later though, it had to be partly dismantled to allow restoration work to be carried out on the Hon-maru's foundations.

The upper-most level of Takamatsu's three-layered, three-storied main tower overhung the level directly below it. This unusual style was known as Kara zukuri (唐造) and became later known as Nanban zukuri (南蛮造り). The lowest level of Takamatsu castle's main tower overhung its stone base just as it did at Hagi castle & does at Kumamoto castle.

Google Map Views (グーグルマップ)

Best view ベストビュー
Orbit view 軌道ビュー


1588 The Ikoma Clan commenced construction of the castle.
1590 Construction completed.
1639 After falling out of favour with the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Ikoma clan were transferred to a much smaller fief in distant Dewa province.
1642 The Mito branch of the Matsudaira clan were stationed here.
1669 Renovations were made to the three-layered, five storied main tower.
1671 The castle underwent repairs.
1676 The Tsukimi Turret was built.
1677 The Ushitora Turret was built.
1869 The castle was abandoned.
1884 The main tower was torn down.
1917 The Hiunkaku (San-no-maru palace) was completed. The beautifully-maintained complex is quite large and has several wings.
2009 A tile decorated with the Ikoma clan's family crest was excavated from the moat that surrounds the base of the main tower.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
Tsukimi TurretImportant Cultural Property
Watari TurretImportant Cultural Property
Mizute GateImportant Cultural Property
Ushitora TurretImportant Cultural Property