Takeda, the Castle in the Sky
Takeda Castle is always popular, and even more so in autumn. Why? Just because that’s the best time to have a chance to admire it surrounded by clouds! Hence its many nicknames such as Castle in the Sky or the Machu Picchu of Japan. To be sure not to miss anything, I reach the site at sunrise.
After the short climb of 3 kilometres, with camera bag slung from my shoulder and my drone’s heavy case, my tongue is hanging out! This doesn’t fail to amuse the handful of Japanese visitors already there, for whom I have to pose a few minutes for pictures.
Once alone, I prepare the drone at a little parking space for security staff, just before you reach the castle itself. With my head in the clouds (literally), I anxiously wonder if the castle is in the same state as me. Beep-beep-beep, bzzzzzzzzzzzzz, I send the drone (noisy, these things) swirling through the thick fog. It rises, rises, the cloud layer never-ending … But at last the castle appears right under its nose!
Difficult to fly in these conditions because the drone appears to be in a different world, but the main problem is that it’s completely out of my sight. Radio contact can also be very quickly lost in these conditions. So while being careful I’m trying to fly over the ruins and take a few panoramic views.
Flight over, I set off on foot. Without the drone case this time, cautiously left in the care of the little woman in charge! Only in Japan.
This castle was built in 1443 as a hilltop fort like Himeji. Amazing isn’t it? It then changed hands several times until abandoned in 1600 to become a haikyo, after the suicide of the last samurai owner.
Hundreds of years later it’s being mobbed by tourists who are destroying it with their trampling feet and crazy drones.
As usual my photos are misleading. I’m surrounded by hundreds of tourists whom I try to avoid, but my own shadow is the worst problem (with an annoying tendency to butt into all my pictures).
As you may have realized, I’m not keen on video. But anyway I decided to make one of the castle, which you can find here on my YouTube.
Doesn’t this structure (above) remind you of anything? I can’t help but think of Gunkanjima.
I also visited the castle a few years ago, in winter. Clear sky, crisp coldness, snow, but a much more serene experience. The spring looks like it would be very pleasant too, because of the cherry blossom.
The site is quite isolated but if you’re spending a few days in Osaka you can take a day trip to visit the castle. Don’t think twice.