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Photo By: PIXTA/ marumaru
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Oita
Population
1,221,128

Funai Castle Ruins (Oita Castle)

Check out one of Oita City’s best cherry blossom spots at Funai Castle Ruins!

By Elizabeth Sok

Completed in 1607, Funai Castle holds an important place in the history of Christianity in Japan. While only its ruins remain today, the castle is nevertheless a reminder of the country’s feudal past and is considered one of the top 100 castles in Japan.

History of Funai Castle

Funai Castle Ruins

Photo by: In 1607, the final form of Funai Castle was unveiled with four tiers, several towers, a variety of tea rooms, gardens and a moat.

The story of Funai Castle begins with the reign of Otomo Sorin, a sixteenth-century feudal lord born to a powerful clan dating back to the twelfth century. At its peak, Otomo territory encompassed huge tracts of territory throughout northern and eastern Kyushu. Ruling from Funai (present-day Oita City), Otomo ordered the construction of a new castle in the 1560s. In the decades that followed, the castle changed hands as a result of warfare with neighboring clans and political infighting.

Soon after the first Portuguese sailors arrived in Japan in 1543, Christian missionaries made inroads with several key members of Japan’s ruling class in Kyushu. Francis Xavier, one of the most important missionaries of this period, met with Otomo at Funai Castle on his travels from present-day Kagoshima to Yamaguchi Prefectures. After this meeting, Otomo converted to Christianity which caused friction among his allies and drew even sharper criticism from his enemies.

Castle Remnants

Funai Castle Ruins

Photo by: PIXTA/ kai Walk around Joshi Park and enjoy the minimalistic environment dotted with trees and plants.

The completed Funai Castle stood for more than two centuries before largely being destroyed by fire in the middle of the eighteenth century. After several reconstruction projects, visitors today can see two towers, the stone foundations of the main keep, the Otemon Gate, a covered bridge crossing the moat, as well as several stone walls.

If you’re planning a trip to Oita between the end of March and the middle of April, be sure to stop by the ruins and marvel at the seventy-plus cherry trees in full bloom, a sight considered to be one of the best viewing spots in the city. Regardless of the time of year, you go to Oita, you may be in for a surprise as the city occasionally organizes special installations at the site. The most recent endeavor brought Funai Castle back to its former glory in a dazzling lighting display projected onto the ruins.

Things To Know

HOURS AND FEES

The castle is open all year and entrance is free. 

How To Get There

Address

By bus

Take the Oita BR15 bus in the direction of 5 Gochi Daiko Shako Mae. Get off at Oita City Hall and walk about three minutes to the ruins. 

By foot

The ruins are about a 15-minute walk from JR Oita station.

Where To Stay

Daiwa Roynet Hotel Oita
  • 2-3 Niagemachi, Oita-shi, Oita, 870-0046 Japan
  • ¥6,400 - ¥26,500
  • 4.28/5 (3,163 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Hotel MyStays Oita
  • 1-32 Niagemachi, Oita-shi, Oita, 870-0046 Japan
  • ¥6,930 - ¥36,860
  • 3.95/5 (1,867 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Hotel AreaOne Oita
  • 3-3-7 Funaimachi, Oita-shi, Oita, 870-0021 Japan
  • ¥6,300 - ¥11,100
  • 3.57/5 (1,226 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Art Hotel Oita
  • 2-1-7 Miyakomachi, Oita-shi, Oita, 870-0034 Japan
  • ¥5,360 - ¥41,800
  • 4.04/5 (888 reviews)
  • 0.7 km
Oita Regal Hotel
  • 1-1-29 Funaimachi, Oita-shi, Oita, 870-0021 Japan
  • ¥8,230 - ¥12,520
  • 3.65/5 (2,357 reviews)
  • 0.7 km

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