Located in Yokote Park, Yokote Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Yokote city, Akita Prefecture. If you like castles and temples, Yokote’s tiny castle, with a great view of the city, should definitely be added to your list.
Yokote castle was originally built by the Onodera Clan in the 16th century. This clan ruled over the area until the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. After the Battle of Sekigahara and during the Edo Period (1603-1867), the castle changed hands many times. In 1868, at the beginning of the Meiji Period, the castle was burned down in a battle during the Boshin War, a civil war in Japan from 1868 to 1869.
What we see today is the reconstruction of the castle which once stood there. The present castle was constructed in 1965. The structure of the castle has three levels and four stories. The castle’s interior has been transformed to a local museum and the top floor is an observatory with a breathtaking view over Yokote city from one side and Yokote Park from the other. The park also contains a pond and rose garden, which must look beautiful during spring and summer.
Yokote Castle can be accessed from any entrance of Yokote Park, which is a 30 minutes walk through the city from JR Yokote Station on the Kitami Line and the Ou Main Line. The most interesting way for visitors to get there is by Nanamagari, the old path that the samurai used take to go to the castle.
Although it is small, it is definitely rich in history. Yokote castle is the perfect sightseeing attraction in Yokote city, and is open daily from April 1st until November 30th. There’s an admission fee of ¥100 for adults. Junior high school students and younger can enter for free. The opening hours are from 9.00 until 16.30. With a same day ticket you can also visit three more local attractions: The Fureai Center Kamakura Hall in which the interior of a kamakura (snow built hut) is preserved all year round, the Yojiro Ishizaka (a famous writer who taught in Yokote) Memorial Hall, and the Kanazawa Memorial Hall, where Akita Prefecture and Yokote related exhibits are displayed.
If you decide to visit the castle in autumn, I would suggest that you take a walk around the castle and enjoy the beautiful scenery.