Okayama Castle, Okayama, Honshu, Japan

Okayama Castle, Okayama, Honshu, Japan

Okayama Castle, also known as “Crow Castle” (U-jo) due to its black exterior, was built in 1597 in the style of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period. It is located in the Okayama city on the Asahi River, which was used as a moat, and next to the famous Korankuen Garden. The original castle was destroyed on June 29, 1945 during World War 2 bombing. The Tsukimi Yagura (“Moon Viewing Turret”) and the Nishinomaru Nishite Tower survived the bombing of 1945 and are now listed as Important Cultural Properties.


Okayama Castle, Okayama, Honshu, Japan

A reconstruction was made in 1966. In 1996 the rooftop gargoyles were gilded as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations. Today, only a few parts of Okayama Castle’s roof (including the fish-shaped-gargoyles) are gilded in gold, but prior to the Battle of Sekigahara the main tower also featured gilded roof tiles, earning it the nickname Kin Ujo, Golden Crow Castle.

Okayama Castle, Okayama, Honshu, Japan

The reconstructed castle is a six story concrete building complete with air-conditioning, elevators and numerous displays documenting the castle’s history (with a heavy focus on the Ikeda era.) Unfortunately very little information is available in English. Access to the inner sanctuary is free.

Okayama Castle, Okayama, Honshu, Japan

The Okayama Castle is one of Japan’s three black castles along with Matsumoto Castle, which shares the “Crow Castle” nickname (but it is Karasu-jo in Japanese) and Kumamoto Castle.

Okayama Castle on Japan Guide
Okayama Castle on Japanese Lifestyle
Okayama Castle on Wikipedia

More images: Gallery of Okayama Stock ImagesJapan Stock Photography.

Okayama-jo (岡山城), U-jo (烏城), Okayama-shi (岡山市), Honshu (本州), Japan (日本国)

Ilya Genkin is a Sydney, Australia photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, Australian outback and deserts, rainforests, lakes and rivers, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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