To really understand the history of the Japanese castle, one must first understand the
history of Japan. Castles changed and developed to fit the needs of their lords at
different periods in history. This section will follow the history of Japan as it applies
to castles. While we won't cover every small detail, we will get a sense of the world in
which these great buildings were born.
At one time, there were 30 to 40 thousand castles in Japan. Most of them were
medieval castles, built during the Muromachi Period
(approximately 1333-1572). However, most of these had fallen into disuse by the beginning
of the Edo period (around 1600). From then, castles continued to be built until the Meiji
Restoration (1867), but only some 200 or so were constructed during that period. Meanwhile,
many castles were either disassembled or destroyed by natural disasters. Today, only 12
original tenshu (main castle buildings) still
The history of Japan can be divided up in several different ways. We have chosen to arrange
our sections to favor military developments, as these were the most influential events in the
development of castles. You can choose to start at the
beginning, or you can select to learn about any era through the links below.