One of the finest original castles in Japan

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

takahashi city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Tony Schonhardt


If you are looking for a bit of a trek with a great reward at the end, then Bitchu Matsuyama castle in Takahashi City fits the bill. Originally built in 1240, the castle was moved to its current location in 1331. The castle has the dual distinction of being on the national list of the top 100 castles and being located at the highest elevation of any castle in Japan at 430 meters.

This staggering elevation means that it takes some effort to reach Bitchu Matsuyama Castle. Although private transport by car is perhaps the easiest way to get there, there are buses available that will take you as far as the parking area located near the base of the mountain. From there, the only transportation to the next stage of the journey is a Bihoku bus, as cars are not allowed past that point. If you do not want to pay the 400 JPY fare that exempts you from the steep hike up to the castle grounds then you can go on foot. Just remember to wear walking shoes.

For a modest entrance fee of 300 JPY, you get access to a compact yet impressive castle that was brought back from the verge of ruin in 1929 by a cooperative of local residents. With later support from the government, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle was eventually restored to its current state.

The castle consists of most of its surrounding walls, a stone foundation, and a main and adjoining structure. The castle tower or tenshu provides a spectacular view of both Takahashi City and the environs surrounding the grounds.



Takahashi City is a small municipality along the Takahashi River and is notable for is historic buildings and wonderful townscape. The standout structure of he city is Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, which is located high in the mountains. There are also former samurai residences, a temple and a historic church.

Nariwa Town is part of Takahashi City and is about a twenty minute bus ride away. Although the city center has a lot to offer there is much to see in the surrounding towns and villages. Nariwa is a quiet old town with a landscape that is stunning at any time of the year.


Access: From JR Bitchu Takahashi Station, take the Bihoku Bus (10 minutes). It is about a 50 minute walk from the lower parking lot. There is a shuttle bus available for 400 yen to the upper entrance to the castle grounds. From there it is about a 20 minute trek up the mountain to the castle.

Other information:

* Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing for walking.


Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee