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Ako Castle Ruins

At the cultural heart of Ako City

Originally built in the 17th century, Ako Castle was dismantled during the Meiji era. This was a time when many castles in Japan met a similar fate. Castles were taken down because many of them were seen as burdensome financially. They were seen as expensive to maintain and no longer serving any practical purpose.

Sometimes referred to as ruins, Ako Castle is what remains after a government deconstruction and later partial reconstruction. During World War II, Japan saw many of its castles destroyed or damaged by the bombing raids. In the years following the war there was a drive to rebuild some of the castles that did not survive. This sentiment spurred a movement to partially rebuild some of the castle ruins around the country as well.

Ako Castle Ruins is located in the cultural district of the city, near Oishi Shrine and the community center. You can get there by bus from Ako Station. Once you arrive, you can reach any of the attractions on foot within 5-10 minutes.

Entrance to the grounds of the ruins is free but you can make a donation by purchasing an information booklet on the Japanese castle circuit. When I was there, there were several visitors who were clearly on a mission to see several castles on their trip.

The castle grounds consist of a few reconstructed turrets and outbuildings, while the castle itself is represented by a metal-frame structure. This provides on-lookers with a good idea of the dimensions of the castle and at the same time offers a spectacle of light as it is draped with Christmas-like ornaments that are illuminated at night.

Another feature that is common to castle reconstruction are outlines that illustrate where certain areas of buildings would have been originally. You can walk around and put your imagination to work. It should not be too hard if you have a reference point in your mind such as Himeji Castle.

The maple trees that dot the castle grounds radiate the most brilliant hues of red if you visit in autumn. Couples take turns capturing romantic photos under the leaves that line the walkways.

Complete your cultural experience in Ako City with a visit to the Ako Castle Ruins.

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