|So, where to?|
Are you planning a trip to Japan? Are you wondering where to travel on your surplus of nenkyu days? Why not make a pilgrimage to the most interesting castles in Japan?
Luckily, Japanophile Daniel O'Grady has mapped many of Japan's 300 castles for us. For 11 years he has been exploring and documenting Japanese castles culminating in his Japanese Castle Explorer website. The easy-to-navigate site includes a navigable map of Japan (above) with satellite images of each castle, most with street views.
Each castle has its own profile and many are rated in 5 areas: scale, buildings, earth/stonework, accessibility, and the surrounding area. Many of the castle profiles have a timeline of important events surrounding the castles (some castles have been burnt down or destroyed and completely rebuilt) as well as historical recognition of each castle or components. This site is basically a virtual Lonely Planet guide to Japanese castles.
|Okayama Castle, nicknamed the "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior|
You can browse the castles in different ways; you can explore the map in Japanese; you can peruse the 190 plus blog articles; you can even flip through castle photos by category (if your in search of something specific). Many of the castle profiles include various pictures and video walkthroughs which are informative and rather humorous. Some profiles even include pictures of ancient wartime maps.
|The inner defensive enclosures, Himeji Castle|
Basically, if your interest in Japan is anywhere near that of creator Daniel O'Grady, you might get lost in the site (like I get lost in Pinterest). Enjoy!