Okayama Castle – “Crow Castle”
Okayama Castle in the city of Okayama is popularly known as Crow Castle (U-jô), because of its black exterior. The castle has also to watch towers that are listed as Important Cultural Properties of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. An extra plus: From the top of Okayama Castle you have beautiful views of Korakuen Garden but also the city of Okayama.
On the rooftop of this beautiful castle tower are also some splendid mythical roof ornaments, guilded Shachihokos, an imaginary animal with a face like a tiger and body like fish. Only these “fishes” are worth going to the top of the castle – but there is also an elevator.
In 1573 the Daimyo Ukita Naoie (1529 –1582) started the construction of the castle. and completed by his son Ukita Hideie (1573 – 1655) in 1597. In 1600 Hideie fought in the Battle of Sekigahara against Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 – 1616) and was defeated. As spoils of war the castle was given to to Kobayakawa Hideaki (1543 – June 1, 1616) who died two years later. The castle was 1602 given to the Ikeda Clan who kept the castle until 1869. The Ikeda Clan constructed the Korakuen as their private garden. 1945 the allied bombed the castle to the ground. 1964 to 1966 the castle was rebuilt from the original blueprints.
Inside Okayama castle is a museum showing artefacts as well as the history. There is also air-condition and an elevator.
You reach Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden by walking 20 minutes from Okayama Station or five minutes by taxi.