Kochi Castle 高知城
Founder Yamanouchi Kazatoyo
Year 1603
Type Hilltop
Condition Original
Alternate Name Taka-jo
Structure 3 levels, 6 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Kaitokukan, Kuroganemon, tenshu, Nando Kura, Tenshu Southeast Wall, Tenshu Northwest Wall, Kuroganemon Northwest wall, Kuroganemon Southeast wall, Outemon Southwest wall, Outemon Northeast wall, Outemon, East Tamon, Rokamon, Tsumemon, West Tamon
Location Kochi, Kochi Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Kochi Station, 25 minute walk or 15 minutes bus or street car
Website Kochi City
Visited October 21, 2001
Notes This is a really great castle. I just wish it hadn't been raining so hard when we were there. The warmer more tropical like climate of Kochi results in the castle having much vegetation growing everywhere. Exhibits inside the castle show that it was in a terrible state of neglect until they repaired it between 1948-1959.

Yamanouchi Kazutoyo began the construction of Kochi castle in 1601 after he was stationed in the Tosa region. Originally he resided in Urado Castle but decided to build a new castle in the current location. Yamanouchi moved in two years later after the main keep and main structures were finished. The whole castle was completed in 1611.

Much of the castle, including the main keep, were burned to the ground in a great fire that broke out in the castle town in 1727. The current main keep dates from this reconstruction which was completed in 1748. It took until 1753 until the castle was completely rebuilt.

One of the most rare aspects of this castle is that all the structures from the original honmaru remain.

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  • ART    November 06, 2016 at 01:05 PM
    This was truly one of the best sites I visited in Shikoku during the summer. It’s also a good place to view the ishidoi system of Japanese castles, a system of channels dug into earth and built into ishigaki (stone walls) to carry ground water away from the baileys to protect against landslides. It was important to protect against rainfall as well as attackers. A unique feature of Kōchijō are the so-called “ninja-gaeshi,” or “ninja repellent” iron spikes on the outside of the donjon. Another is that the Lord's living space is attached to the donjon (the palatial go'ten is usually separate).
  • Anonymous    February 13, 2016 at 01:17 PM
    The church's site states that it is indeed Kochi Castle. People saying Himeji are probably just saying the only castle they know. It's Kochi: http://www.makikichurch.org/castle/index.html
  • Keith    February 07, 2016 at 01:19 PM
    Makiki Christian Church in Honolulu is designed off of Kochi Castle. Some articles say that the church is based off of Himeji, but the founder, Takie Okumura, was from Kochi, and the church looks a lot like Kochi-jo and not at all like Himeji-jo. http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/HI-01-OA99 http://historichawaii.org/2014/02/19/makiki-christian-church/
  • Gary    July 21, 2015 at 09:55 AM
    Kochi castle is great. The grounds are well kept. Got some good photos. Well worth a visit.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    June 19, 2015 at 11:34 AM
    Great castle and grounds. Highlight of the trip was the guys pruning the trees, they climbed around like monkeys and did such an incredible job. Many visitors on the day I visited.
  • Ron S    August 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM
    Check out this cappuccino from a cafe in Kochi! I truly admire this barista. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ta-t/4586506144/in/photostream/lightbox/ Sorry, I have no idea of the name of this cafe, though.
  • LM    August 10, 2013 at 09:27 AM
    We visited this castle in May of 2012. This is by far my favorite castle in Japan thus far. Visiting it was like stepping back in time. Because it is one of Japan's original castles it has retained a very old world feel. I especially love the dioramas displaying life at Kochi Castle in the feudal era. You can see pictures/description of my visit: <a href="http://japan-hub.com/2013/07/28/japan-do-kochi-castle/">japan-hub.com</a>
  • RaymondW on My Page    March 03, 2013 at 10:23 AM
    Kochi Castle is a fabulous castle to visit. It has plenty of stone walls, actually more than I had expected. In some ways, it is like Marugame Castle, but a lot of its ishigaki are hidden by the trees while the stone walls at Marugame can clearly be seen. As mentioned already by other JCastle users, it is the only Japanese castle which has all its buildings in the main bailey intact from the Edo Period. It is also one of four Japanese castles with an original palace from the Edo Period. Inside the castle keep is a museum which has a very detailed model of what Kochi Castle looked like during the Edo Period. Like many other castles built in the late Sengoku Period and early Edo Period, it used some recycled materials from other nearby castles in its construction. The castle keep from Urado Castle (at the site of the present day Sakamoto Ryoma Museum) was moved to the eastern side of the Third Bailey and became one of its turrets. Unfortunately, this structure along with almost all the other structures in the outer baileys has been demolished. The exception is the Otemon (Main Gate). I was in Kochi for three days, so I took the opportunity to go and visit a few Chosokabe (Chosogabe on all the English signs that I saw in Kochi) castle ruins nearby.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 16, 2012 at 07:01 PM
    This is really a nice castle to visit. You have access to all the buildings in the honmaru and you may take photos of everything. The goten was in very good condition and it's nice to see one just next the tenshukaku. I gave it 4.5 stars because it can't compare to Himeji and Matsumoto, but i really recommend a visit to this castle.
  • MM    March 17, 2008 at 02:52 AM
    I would highly recomend this shiro, even though it's not as large as some of the others because it is the only castle left with all the original buildings in the honmaru intact.
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Kochi, Kochi Prefecture
Kochi Castle views
donjon, yagura gate with main keep in the background
honmaru, gates and yagura gate
main keep and entrance stone wall
kuroganemon gate Otemon gate