Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty 3d Himeji-jo 3D Puzzle

Stone-throwing windows

If you look out the window of any modern, multi-storied building, as much as you squish your face to the glass, you cannot see who is knocking on the front door. There are two reasons why with Japanese castles you could. First was the seemingly-climbable, sloping stone walls - they slope away. And second, there were downward-facing windows. From these openings, the area below could be observed, and when neccessary, arrows, stones, even water balloons could be loosed upon the enemy.

Hakamagoshi - 袴腰型

Possibly the most identifiable style of stone throwing window. It features prominently on Himeji's main tower & turrets, Matsumoto's main tower & many of Japan's reconstructed castles. They can be found on corners or, between the corners, on flat wall.

Tobuku – 戸袋型

They resemble the boxes that contain window shutters, and that is exactly what Tobuku means. Check out Kokura castle's top floor to see what I mean. Matsuyama's castle utilized this style extensively. Again, found on corners & in between.

Demado – 出窓型

This style of ishi-otoshi is very common. Not only on main towers but on turrets. They can range in size but all feature a shallow (so they couln't be entered) overhanging section on the first or second floors.

Demado – 出窓型

Essentially the same as the previous Demado-styled window, but you'd have to say it's quite a stylish variation. The curved Kara style gable houses a wooden-framed box which protrudes from the wall & overlooks the water-filled moat below.

Hidden ishiotoshi - 隠石落

I've highlighted the 2nd-floor Hakamagoshi-style chutes of Matsue castle because they are obscured by the darkness of the walls & they are hidden between the double eaves. Now that you know where they are, check out the original picture.

Hidden ishiotoshi - 隠石落

Kumamoto's stone throwing windows are hidden in plain sight. Floor boards along the complete length of the overhanging section could be lifted, thereby offering a relatively unhindered view of any attacker approaching the base of the main tower.