The city of Kishiwada is conveniently located in the center of the Senshu Region, about 15 minutes by train from both Kansai International Airport to the south and Sakai Station to the north. The city is most famous for its harvest festival (or “Danjiri Matsuri”), known as one of Japan’s most thrilling and dynamic festivals, but you’ll also find two scenic historical spots that can be appreciated all year round: Kishiwada Castle and Gofuso Garden.
Although it is not unambiguous when exactly and who built Kishiwada Castle, during the Sengoku period (the middle of the 16th century) it served as a residential castle of Nobuteru Matsura, Sengoku busho (Japanese military commander) of Senshu region during this time. After several lords ruled over Kishiwada, later in the 16th century, the castle was rebuilt by the order of the warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who sought to control the southern region of Osaka and Wakayama. The original castle tower was an imposing five-level structure, but after being destroyed by lighting in 1827 and again in 1954, the current three-tier building was rebuilt on the same site.
With its magnificent tower, spacious moats and striking stone walls, the castle will impress you not only from the outside, but also from within. Its folk museum and exhibition room will give you insight into the historical significance of the castle en route to a stunning view from the top of the tower. You’ll also want to stop by the Hachijin Garden, an exquisite rock garden built on the castle grounds by renowned garden designer Mirei Shigemori in 1953 that has been designated as a National Site of Scenic Beauty for its architectonical uniqueness.
This beautiful, classically styled garden was built by Rikichi Terada of the powerful Terada family, and was completed in 1929 after a ten-year construction period. On the spacious grounds of more than 7900 square meters stand the main building and three tearooms created in a unique style of Japanese architecture, using only prime quality timbers without any knots or shakes. You’ll also find an impressive thirteen-storied stone pagoda associated with the great warlord Nobunaga Oda. Stroll the grounds in any of Japan’s four seasons and to enjoy a harmonic fusion of greenery and architecture—beauty both natural and man-made. Top off your visit with a lunch or dinner of exquisite Japanese cuisine lunch or dinner at the on-site restaurant, offering breathtaking garden views.
Airport: Kansai International Airport
9-1 Kishiki-cho, Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
Closed Mondays (open if Monday is a national holiday, or during the castle festival from April 1 to 15) and during the year-end and New Year holiday season (December 29 to January 3).
18-1 Kishiki-cho, Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture
Garden open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (reservations required for lunch or dinner)