Imabari Castle is a quaint little castle nestled within Imabari city. It was not a castle that I had a big interest in but it was a place that I wanted to visit in Imabari. I spent the afternoon on a walking around Imabari and Imabari Castle and had a lot of fun there. It was everything that I expected and the castle didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t the best castle in Japan and I did arrive a little late but I wouldn’t change things too much.
I arrived at Imabari Castle a little late, around 4:30pm. The main castle closes at 5pm but the last entry is 30 minutes before closing. Since I walked all the way from Imabari Station, I knew I wouldn’t have been able to make it. I ended up just walking around the castle itself.
There are 2 main entrances to the castle, the south and the north entrance. If you are walking from Imabari Station, you will approach from the south. Either way, the approach is very nice. Once you see the castle, you’ll be able to see the huge moat. The moat was actually designed so that arrows would not be able to reach the castle walls. This was pretty interesting and really smart. I really recommend visiting the south side of the castle as there is less traffic in that area compared to the north.
The entrance to the castle is pretty simple. Rather than an elaborate design of paths leading to the main keep, it is a simple path from the moat up to the castle area itself. The central area is a very simple courtyard with a soft sand base. There really isn’t anything too special about it. If you want to see it in more detail, Google Maps actually goes up into the courtyard.
When you are done with the courtyard, you have a choice to either head into the castle keep or to the shrine. Fukiage Shrine is located right next to Imabari Castle. In fact, they are the owners of the land and control the castle as well. The shrine is actually really nice and an interesting design with the castle right next door. You really do have to spend a few minutes visiting the shrine but for many people it isn’t going to be mind-blowing.
The castle itself is a pretty basic design. From what I heard it is a reconstruction, so I wasn’t very interested in visiting the inside anyways. I believe there are 5 levels inside the castle and it is pretty tall when you get right up to it. I have to admit that I was rushing a little to see everything as quickly as possible as I had another destination to visit on the same evening. We had time to take a couple of group shots and soon we had to leave.
Imabari Castle is probably the only noteworthy tourist spot in Imabari. While the city hall is a great place to visit, it isn’t for everyone. In reality, I just couldn’t find much to do in Imabari with such a short time. If I ever return to Ehime, I’ll try to take more time to check out Imabari Castle as I really didn’t give it enough time. For a first blush, I’m pretty happy and will happily try to come back again to get even more out of it.