Beautiful though they may be, the castles of Japan were incredibly fragile compared to their Western counterparts, as they couldn’t be built from stone without crumbling during earthquakes. Although the vast majority of these flammable fortresses were lost to time, a dozen originals remain standing to this day. Kochi Castle is one of them — in fact it’s the only one with both an intact cable tower and main keep!
The first incarnation was built in 1611 by the local ruling daimyo. Although fires did ravage the original structures throughout the years, the current iterations still date back well into the Edo Period, and have remained standing since 1753. Make your way through the monumental Otemon Gate (a fully original feature) and you’ll find yourself in what is now known as Kochi Park.
This fortress-turned-park features some nice gardens, the impressive tower stretching up 18.5 meters, and many chambers and nooks to explore — the castle walls even house the local literary museum. Heading up to the very top of the keep, you’ll get some nice views of the city too.