History of Imabari Castle
Sights to see at Imabari Castle

Imabari Castle sits on the Northern coast of Ehime prefecture, and is one of Japan’s most famous “umijiro”, or “sea castles”. It directly faces the Seto Inland Sea, and its moat uses the water from it. The castle had one of the largest built-in ports at the time, and was the center of transportation for the Seto Inland Sea area. Dive into the depths of the Seto Inland area’s history and into the wonders of Imabari Castle.

History of Imabari Castle

Todo Takatora, a warrior who gained respect from feudal lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, constructed Imabari Castle. Todo sided with Tokugawa during an important battle, and Tokugawa rewarded him with a substantial amount of land in the Imabari Province (current Ehime prefecture). With the land in his hand, Todo began constructing his new castle in 1602, and completed construction in around 1608. He used the land to his advantage, and pulled water from the Seto Inland Sea to use for the moat. Along with Imabari Castle, Todo also constructed Tsu Castle in Mie prefecture and Uwajima Castle in Ehime prefecture during his lifetime.

A large portion of Imabari Castle was demolished during the Meiji Restoration due to the government’s push of westernization, and only the moat and stonewalls remained. Entering the Showa period (1926 – 1989), Imabari Castle went under several reconstructions, and developed into the castle we see today.

In the Castle Grounds

Here are the sights to see in the castle grounds:

Castle Tower

The castle tower we see today was built in 1980, and is a reconstruction of the original. The original castle tower, built by Todo Takatora, was demolished when he moved territories from Imabari to Iga (current Mie prefecture).
On the first floor is the ticket window and office, and on floors two to five are exhibits of weapons and documents from the Edo period. The sixth floor serves as an observatory.


Five-storied Castle Tower

Kurogane-gomon Gate

Kurogane-gomon Gate the entrance of the outer citadel. It is made in a special form called “masu-gata”, which allows warriors to keep an eye on intruders at all times and to attack them from all four directions. The gate is a reconstruction of the original, and was made in 2007. You can enter to see what it’s like on the inside.


Kurogane-gomon Gate

The 3 Castle Turrets

There are three castle turrets, or smaller towers, inside the Imabari Castle grounds. Each are currently used in unique ways.

・ Tamon-yagura Turret
Built in the northern area of the castle grounds, Tamon-yagura is currently used as a nature exhibit. The exhibit features specimen preservations and taxidermy.

・ Yamazato-yagura Turret
Constructed in 1990, Yamazato-yagura sits in the northwestern area of the castle grounds. Inside are exhibits of weapons and traditional artworks from the Edo period.

・ Okane-yagura Turret
Okane-yagura locates in the eastern edge of the castle grounds, and was built in 1985. This turret displays artworks from local Ehime artists.

Evening Light-up

Every night, Imabari Castle lights up from 30 minutes after sunset to 11p.m. Over 100 lights illuminate the castle and create alluring, beautiful scenery.


Light-ups at Imabari Castle

General: ¥500
Students: ¥250
65 years and up: ¥400
High school or below / under 18 years old: free

Open Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm


Special exhibits are held on the fourth floor of the castle tower and in the turrets. Check the official website for schedules and details.

Japan's Big Three Castles on Water

Along with Takamatsu Castle in Kagawa prefecture and Nakatsu Castle in Oita prefecture, Imabari Castle is one of Japan's top three castles on bodies of water. Imabari castle is known for the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring. Viewing the castle surrounded by cherry blossoms will give you the best take on Japan's spring. On sunny days, you can see many famous views of Japan!

Imabari Castle and the statue of Todo Takatora

Imabari Castle and the statue of Todo Takatora


Nearest station: JR Imabari Station

From Matsuyama Station

【Matsuyama Sta.】ー JR Yosan Line / for Kanonji
→【Imabari Sta.】→ about a 20-minute walk or Setouchi Bus for Imabari Eigyosho to【Imabarijo-mae】

From Matsuyama Airport

【Matsuyama Airport Sta.】 ー Iyotetsu Limousine Bus / for Dogo Onsen
→【Matsuyama Sta.】ー JR Yosan Line / for Kanonji
→【Imabari Sta.】→ about a 20-minute walk or Setouchi Bus for Imabari Eigyosho to【Imabarijo-mae】


Toricho 3-1-3, Imabari, Ehime
9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.
December 29 to 31
Adults: ¥500
Seniors (65 years old and above): ¥400
Students: ¥250
High school students and below: free

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