Takashima Castle 高島城
Founder Hineno Takayoshi
Year 1592
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Suwa no Ukijiro, Takasaki-jo
Reconstructed 1970 (concrete)
Structure 3 levels, 5 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Location Suwa, Nagano Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kamisuwa Sta. (Chuo Line), 10 min walk
Website Suwa City
Visited Nov 17, 2007
Notes Visit the Suwa Taisha shrines around Lake Suwa while you are in the area. They are some of the oldest shrines in Japan and designated Important Cultural Properties.

The castle was built by Lord Hineno from 1592 to 1598. It is the highest elevation flatland castle ever constructed in Japan. The castle is also known as a the "Floating Castle" because it was built on a small island in the lake that was connected to the shore by a narrow path of land. The lake now since a couple blocks West of the castle and is periodically dredged to maintain a consistent shoreline.

The Suwa clan had ruled over the area around Lake Suwa for hundreds of years but lost control in 1542. In 1601 they regained control and continued to rule until 1869. In the 1870's the castle was dismantled by order of the Meiji government.

Viewer Comments

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  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:06 PM
    Takashima Castle and the surrounding town are small but pleasant. The reconstructed tenshukaku (donjon) has imitation wood paintjob and strips of copper plating for roof tiles and so its appearance is refreshingly different. This style is consistent throughout all of the structures at the site.
  • Malcolm Fairman    March 31, 2015 at 07:00 PM
    If you are coming from Osaka to visit this castle then you need to try and be there by 10:30 as the sunlight is at it's best position for the picture of the castle and moat. Easy done, Shin Osaka Hikari 506 leaves at 6:27, then the Shinano 3 leaves Nagoya at 8, then the Azusa 12 leaves Shiojiri at 10:03, gets you to Kami-Suwa by 10:20. Coming out of the station turn left first for the tourist office as the kind lady there will draw on the map the route to get to the castle. It's not far, but the sun isn't stopping so to get that lovely picture you only have limited time. Other then that nice contents inside the keep, lovely exterior, as for the inside, it's just smooth concrete. I was there for just under 90 minutes and felt I had seen all I wish to. Worth the visit.
  • RaymondW on My Page    August 18, 2011 at 05:21 PM
    This castle is around 15 minutes walk from JR Kami-Suwa Station. If you want to get the classic photo shot of this castle with the castle keep in the background and the bridge and moat in the foreground, it is best to go in the morning. I got there in the arvo, so for that castle shot, you are shooting directly into the sun after midday. The reconstructed castle keep (rebuilt in 1970) is okay on the outside, but the museum inside and the architecture inside leaves a lot to be desired. The staff is pretty helpful, and there is a pamphlet available in English. The castle is opened from 9 to 5:30 (April – September) and 9 to 4:30 (October – March). Entry is 300yen.
  • Kris on My Page    June 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM
    I heard that this castle was one of the three most beautiful water castles; it must have been amazing for travelers to see when it was right at the lakeshore. The outside, the moat and the bridge made for some great photos. The garden was okay – lots of green - I would love to see the frozen moat in winter; photos of fuji and sakura season looked good too. For a building reconstructed in the 70`s the inside had a very 1920`s art-deco feel to it – a first for me. There was a small collection of clocks, glasses, (Suwa industries) and a selection of weapons, (there are better collections at the Suwa Taisha treasure houses and the City Museum), but the highlight was the so-old-it`s-nostlagic CGI animation video of the Suwa vs the Takeda. The castle sells mainly books and doesn't have a mascot but other places sell Yuu-hime kitty-chan or Takashima-jo Doraemon if one of your goals in life is to collect historical figures in cat version.
  • John    May 08, 2011 at 11:01 PM
    I've heard of the black castles of Japan- Kumamoto,Matsue, Ozu, and all the rest, but ive never heard of a tan castle. quite a distinctive feature! nice moats too, i bet the beseigers would have some difficulty getting across that-and even if they did, they'd have to climb the stone walls!
  • Usagi on My Page    January 24, 2011 at 03:49 PM
    This castle is easy to include when visiting Matsumoto castle. It is an interesting castle design from the outside and worth seeing in the winter with its frozen lake. However the inside of the castle is a big disappointment and obviously not considered important. Don't spend the money on the inside museum, stay on the outside.
  • furinkazan    August 04, 2009 at 02:56 AM
    I went there in april. The castle, being a concrete reconstruction, is a bit of a disappointment from the inside. Even the artifacts in the museum aren't that interesting. The castle park and the moats are on the other side very nice and worth a visit.
  • Ryan    December 16, 2008 at 09:32 PM
    I went to Takashima Castle after closing hours in late autumn 2006 with a friend. It was about 6:30pm. We had a very unsettling experience after I knocked on the door to the main keep. We both ended up running out of the castle grounds in a state of shock. A very interesting castle, especially at night. Anyone else has any stories from Takashima I'd love to hear.
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Suwa, Nagano Pref.
Takashima Castle views
main keep, moat and gate yagura
Kabuki Gate moat
main keep moat
gate main keep
main keep and moat gate, moat, donjon, bridge
Kabukimon gate main keep
view from the top of the main keep