The ruins of Yonago Castle in Tottori are a historic site and public park located about 90 meters above the surrounding environment. Reaching the ruins is only a short hike up a wooded trail. Upon emerging from the woods, stone foundations from the 1600s and panoramic views of Yonago, Mount Daisen and Lake Nakaumi are revealed.
These ruins are among Yonago city’s most unique cherry blossom viewing spots. Come spring, pink flowers bloom against a backdrop of centuries-old stone walls and the sky.
History of the ruins
The western part of Tottori Prefecture was once called Hoki Province. During Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1867), Yonago Castle and its surrounding grounds were home to the feudal lord of Hoki, samurai and other officials.
In the late 1800s, Japan began efforts to modernize. One consequence of this was the dismantling of castles because they were believed to be relics unnecessary for the country’s future. Yonago Castle was demolished during this time, and local legend claims its beams were used as firewood for nearby bathhouses.
Visitors hike to the castle ruins throughout the year, but the number of trekkers increases during cherry blossom season. Cherry trees are planted around the ruins. The main grounds have benches and open lawns for sitting and enjoying the flowers.
Outside of spring, another popular time to climb to the ruins is sunrise on February 20 and October 22. If the weather is clear on these days, the sun can be seen rising from behind Mount Daisen. The view of the sun emerging from the mountain’s peak is called “Diamond Daisen” by locals, and many people aim to see it at least once.
Regardless of the season, a quick hike up the mountain on which the ruins sit rewards visitors with a bird’s eye view of the city. On clear evenings, this view also includes a sunset over Lake Nakaumi, Japan’s fifth-largest lake.