78.Marugame Castle Part3

I wish the Main Tower could get out of lonesome state.


High stone walls even in Back of Castle

Going back to the Third Enclosure, you can also get out of the back entrance of the enclosure. You may be surprised to see the high stone walls again even at the back side of the castle. In fact, the present back side was the front of the castle until it was changed in 1660. As a result, the castle has been all covered with the stone walls.

The back entrance of the Third Enclosure
The high stone walls at the back side

Finally, you can see the unique stone walls in the castle, with some natural stones that were piled up and are called Nozura-zumi, at the foot of the mountain. They are built in an older method than the others in this castle. Therefore, it is said that they might have originally been built by the Ikoma Clan, the first lord of the castle.

The stone walls piled up with natural stones at the foot of the mountain
The contrast of the different types of stone walls

Later History

After the Meiji Restoration, all the buildings except for the remaining ones such as the Main Tower and the Main Gate were demolished or burned. The Japanese Army used the castle site until World War II. The outside of the Inner Moat was turned into the city area. On the other hand, Marugame City opened a park on the top of the mountain in 1919. The Main Tower and the buildings of the Main Gate were designated as Important Cultural Properties by 1957. Marugame City always struggle to preserve the ruins such as the stone walls because they have been sometimes damaged from harsh weather. The City is also considering to restore some turrets and walls on the top of the mountain after investigation and study.

The stone walls being repaired
The stone walls of the Third Enclosure

My Impression

I was really moved by the great high stone walls when I was standing in front of the castle. Views from the top of the mountain were great, too. However, I honestly felt that the Main Tower was good, but looked somehow lonesome. If some turrets and walls around the tower were restored, the castle could get its original aspect like Akashi Castle. In addition, the city is also known for Sanuki Udon noodles. There are a lot of Udon noodle restaurants around the castle. That will make your trip more comfortable.

The Sanuki-Fuji that can be seen from the Main Enclosure
The Main Tower seen from the Second Enclosure
The Main Tower that may be lonesome
Akashi Castle, its mud walls between the remaining turrets were recently restored

How to get There

If you want to visit there by car:
It is about 20 minutes away from Sakaide IC or Zentsuji IC on the Takamatsu Expressway. There are some parking lots in and around the park.
if you go there by train, it’s about 10 minutes walk from Marugame Station.
To get to Marugame Station from Tokyo or Osaka: Take the Tokaido or Sanyo Shinkansen super express and transfer at Okayama Station to the Seto-Ohashi Line. If you take a limited express train bound for Matsuyama or Kochi, you will directly arrive at Marugame Station. If you take a train called the Marine Liner bound for Takamatsu, you will need to transfer again at Sakaide Station to the Yosan Line.

The Marine Liner (licensed by Sui-setz via Wikimedia Commons)

Links and References

The Prize Project of Marugame Castle’s Yagura and Hanshu Goten Reconstruction Deployment Plan, Marugame City

That’s all. Thank you.
Back to “Marugame Castle Part1”
Back to “Marugame Castle Part2”

78.丸亀城 その3
















マリンライナー  (licensed by Sui-setz via Wikimedia Commons)




78.Marugame Castle Part2

Great stone walls, great view and the remaining Main Tower


Today, Marugame Castle is open to the public as Marugame Castle itself or the Kame-yama Park. The range of the park is inside the Inner Moat. When you stand in front of the moat, you would be surprised to see the amazing high stone walls with the remaining Main Tower on them. The high stone walls are about 60m which is said to be the highest stone walls among other multiple tiers in Japan. (the highest in single tier is the stone walls of Osaka Castle which is about 33m high).

A distant view of Marugame Castle

The aerial photo around the castle

From Main Gate to Third Enclosure

Visitors usually enter the castle through the remaining Main Gate after crossing the bridge over the moat from the north. This gate has a typical defensive gate building style called Masugata. It consists of a square space surrounded by two gate buildings, mud walls, and stone walls.

The Main Gate and the Main Tower
The Second Main Gate outside
The First Main Gate inside

Then, you will walk up on the long steep slope called Mikaeri-zaka or the Look-back Slope to the eastern direction. On the way of the slope, you will see the highest single tier stone walls in this castle which is 22m high of the Third Enclosure. In particular, the corner of the stone walls is very beautiful called the Slope of a Folding Fan which means its lower part is not steep, but its upper part becomes vertical.

The Look-back Slope
The high stone walls of the Third Enclosure

You will eventually arrive at the eastern part of the Third Enclosure. You can see a great view of the Sanuki-Fuji from the ruins of Tsukimi-Yagura or the Moon Watching Turret.

The ruins of the Moon Watching Turret at the Third Enclosure
A view of the Sanuki-Fuji from the ruins of the Moon Watching Turret

From Second Enclosure to Main Enclosure

After that, you will enter the Second Enclosure between the Main and the Second Enclosures. The enclosure once had several turrets connected with mud walls like the Main Enclosure, now has a square with cherry trees and which local people are familiar with.

The entrance of the Second Enclosure
The inside of the Second Enclosure

You will finally enter the Main Enclosure at the highest in the castle. A 360-degree view from there is so great. You can see not only the Sanuki-Fuji but also the islands and the Great Seto Bridge on Seto Inland Sea.

The entrance of the Main Enclosure
The inside of the Main Enclosure
A view of Marugame City area and Seto Inland Sea from the Main Enclosure
The Great Seto Bridge on Seto Inland Sea

Devised Remaining Main Tower

The enclosure now has only the Main Tower, one of the twelve remaining main towers in Japan. It is a kind of three-story turret and, in fact, the smallest one among the twelve main towers.

The back side of the remaining Main Tower that can be seen from the Main Enclosure

However, it was improved in some points to look bigger than it is when looking up it from the foot of the mountain. The first point is the reduction rate to the top of the tower is relatively large. The second one is that the decorations of the tower like the hip-and-gable roof and the Chinese styled gable are facing outside. They help the Main Tower looks big from below.

The front side of the remaining Main Tower that can be seen from the foot of the mountain

You can also enter the tower and may feel it was made practical as a turret. The steps to upstairs are very steep. It equips machicolations and loopholes for battles. It also exhibits the historical explanation and miniature model of the castle now.

The stairway to the second floor
A loophole for guns at the second floor
The inside of the third floor

To be continued in “Marugame Castle Part3”
Back to “Marugame Castle Part1”