There were two castles I desperately wanted to see with my own eyes. One was Takeda Castle, which is also known as the "Castle in the Sky", and the other was Ryugu Castle (sea god's palace) in Kinosaki.
Both castles can be found in the Tajima area in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture. They occasionally appear to be floating in a sea of clouds. Both castle views can only be seen when various weather conditions are all met at the same time. There is a high probability of dense morning fog appearing on sunny autumn days in this area, but nature can be whimsical, can't it? The photos introduced here were taken four years ago when the sea of clouds appeared almost as much as I hoped. For detailed information which includes how to access viewpoints and precautions that should be taken, please refer to the official website of Takeda Castle Ruins.
Unlike the well-known Takeda Castle, only a little information is disclosed on the Ryugu Castle, which is located a little off the coast of Hiyoriyama Beach in Kinosaki (Hyogo prefecture). The chances of witnessing a sea fog here are much lower than at the above mentioned Takeda Castle. It happens so rarely that even local people hardly ever see it. Many have tried and failed too many times to stay hopeful and no longer make the attempt. So you can understand how rare this natural phenomenon is, can't you? If you can see the fantastic sight of Ryugu Castle floating in a sea of clouds when you visit here, it proves you are an exceptionally lucky person. It occurs in the early mornings from autumn to early winter, at the same time as the phenomenon occurs at Takeda Castle. However, I cannot guarantee that you can see either of them, let alone both of them.
Even if you are unlucky and can't see the sea of clouds (a very real possibility), you don't have to be disappointed. Autumn and winter here is the season of crabs! Kinosaki's Matsuba crabs are exceptionally famous. You can go back to the Kinosaki Onsen Hotsprings, take a dip in a famous hot bath, and then eat crabs to your heart's content. Or you can stay on the Hiyoriyama Beach and have a blast at Kinosaki Marine World. Kinosaki Marine World is a theme park that focuses on providing hands-on, interactive activities to visitors. Their attractions are planned with various ideas and creativity, which makes it not only a fun aquarium but also an entertainment complex.
It may sound contradictory to the purpose of this photo story, but even if you can't see the sea of clouds or can't be guided by a turtle from Ryugu Castle, you may be still able to enjoy the hands-on experience of Ryugu Castle!
※Translator's note: "Ryugu Castle" is a fictional castle from a Japanese fairy tale. The protagonist visits the castle with the guidance of a turtle.
To access Takeda Castle
Please refer to the access guide of Takeda Castle's official website.