From Jcastle.info

Turrets (Yagura) / 櫓

This is a subtype of Features

The Japanese term yagura literally means a storehouse (kura) for arrows (ya), but yagura were used to store all manner of weapons, food and supplies. Yagura were not just storehouses, but vital defensive platforms and lookout towers that were placed at strategic locations throughout the castle. Most corners of a bailey had a yagura, often called a sumi yagura (corner yagura). These corners provided a wide field of view and two sides for flanking fire. The corner yagura also protected the vulnerable corners of stone walls which were much easier to climb than the straight sheer sides.


You can sometimes guess what was stored in a yagura or its purpose from the name: Teppo Yagura (guns), Hata Yagura (flags), Yari Yagura (spears), Shio Yagura (salt), among many others. There were also other special function yagura such as Taiko Yagura which kept a drum to sound out the time, Tsukimi Yagura for viewing the moon, and Ido Yagura for housing a well. Sumi Yagura (corner yagura) often had special naming conventions too. They were named according to the 12 signs of the zodiac as placed on the face of a clock. So with north at 12 o'clock a northwest yagura was called Ushitora Yagura, a southeast yagura was Tatsumi Yagura, southwest was Hitsujisaru Yagura and Northwest was Inui Yagura.


Yagura were mostly built in the sotogata style, with the same characteristics of many main keep. Sotogata have a square base with each level a size smaller than the lower one. There are few extant yagura in the borogata style, but some examples are the Utoyagura at Kumamoto Castle and Nohara Yagura at Iyo Matsuyama Castle and the Fushimi Yagura at Fukuyama Castle. See the Main keep page for more details about these structure types.

Seiroyagura (井楼櫓)

Seiroyagura is one of the earlier forms of yagura. It is a simple structure made from wooden beams in a square. They were used as watchtowers in earlier castles and were erected on the battlefield to provide commanders with a better view.

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3 level yagura (三重櫓)

main keeps are basically really big yagura that evolved to 3 or more levels. Especially, in eastern Japan many castles built a large 3 level yagura in place of a main keep. Such main keep were also called gosankai yagura. The main keep of Hirosaki Castle and Marugame Castle are actually 3 level yagura. At Edo Castle, the 3 level Fujimi Yagura was used in place of the main keep after it burned down too.

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Gosankai Yagura (御三階櫓)

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2 Level Yagura (二重櫓)

2 level yagura is the most typical yagura type and there are many surviving examples throughout the country. You see lots of unique shapes and uses for these yagura.

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1 level yagura

Hirayagura (平櫓)

This is the simplest yagura type. It's too short to be used as a lookout tower and not usually used as a sumiyagura. Hirayagura is most frequently used on the edge of an outer bailey like a sannomaru bailey that has no dirt walls. It is also frequently used as a connecting yagura to join gates, larger yagura or main keep.

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Tamonyagura (多聞櫓)

Tamonyagura is a hirayagura that has been stretched out. It can be used in place of dirt walls atop moats and embankments. Tamonyagura are often found connected to corner sumiyagura or main keep. They can be used to store goods, but also function as a very strong defensive platform.

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Castles with Turrets (Yagura)
  1. Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
  2. Akashi Castle
  3. Ako Castle
  4. Akozu Castle
  5. Amagajo
  6. Amagasaki Castle
  7. Aoyagi Castle
  8. Asuke Castle
  9. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  10. Damine Castle
  11. Echizen Katsuyama Castle
  12. Echizen Ohno Castle
  13. Edo Castle
  14. Fujita Castle
  15. Fukuchiyama Castle
  16. Fukuyama Castle
  17. Funai Castle
  18. Fushimi Castle
  19. Gujo Hachiman Castle
  20. Haga Castle
  21. Hanaoka Castle (Saku)
  22. Hikone Castle
  23. Himeji Castle
  24. Hirado Castle
  25. Hirosaki Castle
  26. Hiroshima Castle
  27. Hitomoshi Castle (Saku)
  28. Hitoyoshi Castle
  29. Honshouji Castle
  30. Hotta no Saku
  31. Iga Ueno Castle
  32. Ikeda Castle
  33. Imabari Castle
  34. Ina Castle
  35. Innoshima Suigun Castle
  36. Inuyama Castle
  37. Iwamura Castle
  38. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  39. Izu Nagahama Castle
  40. Izushi Castle
  41. Kakegawa Castle
  42. Kameyama Castle
  43. Kaminoyama Castle
  44. Kanazawa Castle
  45. Kasama Castle
  46. Kashima Castle (Hizen)
  47. Kikuchi Castle
  48. Kishiwada Castle
  49. Kochi Castle
  50. Kofu Castle
  51. Koiwatake Castle
  52. Kokura Castle
  53. Kokuzousan Noroshidai
  54. Komoro Castle
  55. Koromo Castle
  56. Kosema Castle
  57. Koyama Castle
  58. Kubota Castle
  59. Kumamoto Castle
  60. Kushima Castle
  61. Kuwana Castle
  62. Marugame Castle
  63. Matsue Castle
  64. Matsumae Castle
  65. Matsumoto Castle
  66. Matsushiro Castle
  67. Minakuchi Castle
  68. Mito Castle
  69. Monjuyama Castle
  70. Nagaoka Castle
  71. Nagoya Castle
  72. Nakatsu Castle
  73. Nihonmatsu Castle
  74. Nijo Castle
  75. Nishio Castle
  76. Numata Castle
  77. Odawara Castle
  78. Ogaki Castle
  79. Oguchi Castle
  80. Ogurayama Castle
  81. Ohmori Castle
  82. Ohno Castle (Owari)
  83. Okayama Castle
  84. Osaka Castle
  85. Oshi Castle
  86. Otaki Castle
  87. Ozu Castle
  88. Sakasai Castle
  89. Sannohe Castle
  90. Seki Castle (Mino)
  91. Sekiyado Castle
  92. Sendai Castle
  93. Shibata Castle
  94. Shimabara Castle
  95. Shirakawa Castle
  96. Shiroishi Castle
  97. Shiwa Castle
  98. Sonobe Castle
  99. Sunpu Castle
  100. Tahara Castle
  101. Takamatsu Castle
  102. Takane Castle
  103. Takasaki Castle
  104. Takashima Castle
  105. Takato Castle
  106. Tanabe Castle
  107. Tanaka Castle
  108. Tatsuno Castle
  109. Tatsuoka Castle
  110. Tojo Castle
  111. Tomioka Castle
  112. Toyama Castle
  113. Tsu Castle
  114. Tsuchiura Castle
  115. Tsuyama Castle
  116. Ueda Castle
  117. Usuki Castle
  118. Utsunomiya Castle
  119. Uwajima Castle
  120. Wakayama Castle
  121. Yaga Castle (Tanba)
  122. Yamagata Castle
  123. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  124. Yoshida Castle
  125. Yoshinogari
  126. Yumurayama Castle
  127. Zeze Castle
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