Kochi Castle, located in the city of Kochi in southern Shikoku, is one of only 12 remaining original Japanese castles. Its small but elegant donjon measures 18.5 meters, and provides excellent views of the city.
Yamauchi Katsutoyo, the fuedal lord of Tosa domain, began constructing Kochi Castle on top of Otakasaka hill in 1601, and moved there from his original residence of Urado Castle at nearby Katsurahama when the donjon was completed in 1603. The entire castle was completed in 1611 and remained the seat of the Yamanouchi family for more than 250 years. In 1727, the castle was destroyed in a massive fire, but was later rebuilt to original specifications. The donjon was rebuilt in 1748, and the entire reconstruction was completed in 1753.
Kochi Castle is distinctive, in that it is the only castle left in Japan which still retains all of its original honmaru (inner bailey) buildings. In total, 15 original structures remain, all of which have been designated "Important Cultural Properties" by Japan's Ministry of Cultural Affairs.