If you have two days to spend in Kinosaki Onsen, allocate half a day to visit Izushi. The small township is a hidden gem close to the popular hot spring town. After enjoying the town’s famous local specialty, Izushi Soba, hike up to the top of Izushi Castle Ruins (出石城跡) for a panoramic view of the gorgeous township. If you are an experienced hiker, you can also climb Mt. Ariko. The trailhead is located at the side of the castle.
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Izushi Castle Ruins (出石城跡)
Izushi Castle was the base of the Izushi Domain in the Edo period (1603 – 1867) after it was completed in 1604 at the foot of Mt. Ariko (有子山).
Although the castle wasn’t chosen to be one of the Top 100 Japanese Castles back in 2006 by the Japanese Castle Foundation (日本城郭協会), because of its historical and cultural value, it was chosen to be one of the Continued Top 100 Japanese Castles (続日本100名城)!
Crossing the bridge and passing through the castle gates, you will find a restored turret meters away.
With Japan at peace, the turret that shouldered the responsibility of defending the castle is now just quietly watching over the castle town from atop the hill.
As you walk up the stairs between the turret’s stone wall, your vision will suddenly widen up!
The space in front of the turret acts as an observation square. From here, you will get a panorama view of Izushi and beyond!
With little physical effort, you get to see the view that the lords of Izuchi used to use this view as stress relief (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Izushi Castle Ruins’ Opening Hours and Access Information
- Izushi Castle Ruins’ grounds can be accessed anytime throughout the year.
- The turret is closed to the public.
Tip: If you love collecting attractions’ stamps, remember to drop by the Izushi Information Centre (出石観光案内所) for the castle’s stamp!
Inari Shrine (稲荷神社)
On the turret’s side is this Inari Shrine with 37 red torii gates lined up through the 157 staircases that continue up to the shrine’s worship hall. This Inari Shrine has existed since Izushi Castle was built. Despite being located within the castle grounds, Izushi’s citizens were allowed to visit the shrine regardless of their social status.
Because the worship hall is further up from Izushi Castle, you will get an even wider view of the surroundings, including the observatory square we just mentioned.
Mt. Ariko’s Trailhead (有子山登山口)
From the side of Inari Shrine’s purification fountain, you will find a trailhead leading to the site where Arikoyama Castle (有子山城) once stood. Arikoyama Castle was in the area from 1574 but was taken down by Hashiba Hideyoshi (the later Toyotomi Hideyoshi) in 1580. It was then completely abandoned after Izushi Castle was completed.
Walking sticks are placed next to the trailhead. Feel free to take one to make the hike easier.
Important: If you want to hike your way up, a one-way journey takes around 100 minutes. Note that the slope of the mountain track is steep, so you need to come with appropriate hiking gear for a safe trip.
Cherry Blossom and Autumn Foliage Seasons in Izushi
- The cherry blossom season is usually from early to mid-April.
- The Izushi Cherry Blossom Festival (出石桜まつり) is usually held in early April.
- The Izushi Soba Eating Tournament (出石名物そば喰い大会) is usually held in mid-April.
- The autumn foliage season is usually from late October to mid-November.
- Check out the various festivals that take place in Izushi HERE!
Discover Other Attractions in Izushi
Of course, Izushi Castle Ruins isn’t the only attraction in Izushi. The small town has a couple more spots that you might want to explore.
For more information, refer to our article on Izushi!
Visit Kinosaki Onsen for Extraordinary Michelin Certified Sceneries
For those who are looking for a hot spring resort with rich historical and cultural elements that also sports many recreational activities, make sure you visit Kinosaki Onsen. The spectacular view from Mt. Daishi is the recipient of a two Michelin star rating!
For more information, please refer to our article on Kinosaki Onsen!