Marugame castle is the smallest castle of 12 still-existing wooden castle towers in Japan, and it sits on the highest ground of 66 metres (216.5ft).
It’s very famous for its magnificent stone walls.
The castle was constructed on a mountain called “Kameyama”（亀山） in 1597 by the feudal lord, Chikamasa Ikoma and his son, Kazumasa Ikoma.
The Marugame Castle is the symbol of Marugame city.
The locals are proud of the castle because if you ask the locals for the best spot to visit in Marugame, most of them would bring up “Marugame Castle”.
It’s only a 10 minutes walk from JR Marugame Station.
So when you come to Marugame city, you’d have to visit the castle to see the symbol of Marugame city.
The address and the google map for the direction are at the bottom… So let’s get going!
The Main Gate（大手一の門）of Marugame Castle
The Main Gate 2（大手二の門）
Go through these two main gates and proceed further, then you will find the information office where you can get a map of Marugame castle and instructions on how best to hike up the hill.
In the information office, not only can you buy traditional Marugame hand-fans but also you can take part in a workshop to make a Marugame Fan yourself. It would be a great experience if you have a plenty of time to spend there.
I’ve heard that it takes about one hour to dry the fan, so you make a fan first and then hike up to the castle at the summit.
Then you can pick your fan up on your way back.
The work shop for making Marugame Fan
You can buy traditional hand-made Marugame fans here in the shop.
A hand-made fan with a picture of the Marugame Castle. Now, you’ll start to walk up from the hill adjacent to the information office.
The steep hills in Marugame Castle
The hills along the way are steep. But there is always lots of scenery to enjoy. Plus it will be a great exercise to burn all the carbs accumulated during your trip in Japan.
If you think you’ll only hike up, it would be so hard. But, if you think you’ll hike up the steep hill to see the castle and it will be a good exercise, that will be a totally different experience.
Solid Stone Walls of Marugame Castle
Sturdy & beautifully-layered Stonewalls surrounding the castle, they are very high and made it difficult for enemies to reach the castle at the summit back in the war era.
Image you would run up to the castle with a Katana sword in your hand…. but there are lots of enemies hidden somewhere trying to throw a stone or aim a fire arrow at you…
When you reach the first station of the castle mountain, you can see the highest mountain in Kagawa prefecture. It’s called “Sanuki Fuji” by locals.
Sanuki is the old name of Kagawa Prefecture. We have an old custom in Japan where we name the highest mountain in each region, — Fuji after the highest mountain Mt. Fuji in Japan.
With good weather, you can see Sanuki Fuji far away in the back. The one that is sticking out in the sky is the Sanuki Fuji.
When you come to this spot at the first station of the mountain, there are two routes to hike up: one in the middle and one in the right.
Take the right one and you will have a beautiful scenery of the Seto inland sea and the Great Seto bridge（瀬戸大橋） connecting Kagawa prefecture and Okayama prefecture.
The right route is wider and more open to the ocean, it feels so refreshing. You will be able to enjoy the view of the Seto Inland Sea from here too.
You’ll start to see the 3 storied Marugame castle Tower – the smallest wooden castle tower that has been there for over 400 years.
You can go inside the castle and see the interior of the over 400 years old wooden castle keep.
The admission is only 200 yen.
The inside of the castle keep
The stairs are so steep, it’s more like ladder. So be careful when you walk up. The stairs were steep on purpose to protect enemies from coming up fast. Every design and structure has its own specific purpose.
Looking at the structure of the castle, you will find out how meticulous and great the old master’s techniques were.
The panoramic view of Marugame city is just beautiful. There are benches and tables on the summit and along the way.
It wouldn’t be too bad to make it a picnic whilst visiting the castle!
There is a lot of opportunities to buy foods and beverages for picnic at Marugame station and also in the shopping arcade that you’ll walk through on the way to the castle.
Please noteh: there are not many options for food and beverages inside the castle.
General Information of Marugame Castle
Admission Fee: 200 yen for adults; 100 yen for kids under 15
Please note: It doesn’t cost anything to get in the castle area but if you want to get in the castle tower at the summit, there is a fee to be paid.
Opening Hours: Everyday, 9:00am – 4:30pm(entry by 4:00pm)
Address: 〒763-0025 香川県丸亀市一番丁
It’s only a 10 minutes walk from JR Marugame station. Or you can rent a bike at JR Marugame Station. Click here to find out how to rent a bike at JR Marugame Station