Odawara Castle Japan: Complete Visitor’s Guide

Planning to visit Odawara Castle? Make the most of your trip with travel tips, must-see spots, and everything you need to know about this iconic Japanese castle.

Odawara Castle is an absolute gem, steeped in history and oh-so picturesque. It’s a must-visit on your next trip to Japan.

With its proximity to Hakone, famous for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji, adding Odawara Castle to your itinerary is a no-brainer. You can easily visit the castle on your way to or from Hakone, making it a perfect addition to your Japan adventure.

Or why not center your trip around exploring this historic fortress and then soaking in a nearby onsen? Yeah, we did that!

In this travel guide, I’ll share my recommendations for the perfect visit, with a peek at the castle’s fascinating history and stunning architecture. You’ll be practically hopping on the next flight to Japan!

Complete guide to Odawara Castle Japan

Odawara Castle History

Odawara Castle isn’t just a pretty face; it’s a key player in Japan’s history.

Originally built in the mid-15th century, it was the stronghold for the influential Hojo Clan, who controlled the region around what is now Tokyo.

But in 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s great unifiers, laid siege to it. This marked the decline of the Hojo Clan and a significant step towards the unification of Japan.

The castle’s tale of resilience continued through the centuries.

Rebuilt in 1960 in ferro-concrete, it replicates the original Edo Period designs after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1703 and dismantled again in 1870 during the Meiji Restoration.

The architecture

Now, let’s talk design.

Odawara Castle is a trickster. From the outside, it looks like it has three stories, but surprise—it’s got four on the inside.

This clever design not only served defensive purposes during wartime but also showcased the architectural ingenuity of the era.

Inside, the castle is a treasure trove of history with exhibits of samurai armor and weapons, giving you a glimpse into the lives of Japan’s famed warriors.

And if you climb up to the top floor? Get ready for breathtaking views that make it clear why this spot was chosen for a fortress.

Tucked into its natural surroundings, Odawara Castle also shines with seasonal beauty, from cherry blossoms to plums and beyond.

Odawara Castle is one of the best day trips from Hakone, Japan.

Where to Stay in Odawara

You have lots of options for staying near the castle.

If you’re up for some luxury, check out the Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa. It offers great amenities and stunning views of Sagami Bay.

On a budget? Plum Hostel is affordable and comfy.

For an authentic experience, stay at a local ryokan. You’ll enjoy traditional hospitality and relaxing onsen baths—perfect after a day of exploring.

Best Time to Visit Odawara Castle

The ideal time to visit Odawara Castle is during the cherry blossom season, which typically peaks from late March to early April. The castle grounds come alive with color, and the festive atmosphere is contagious.

However, if you prefer quieter visits, consider early autumn. The weather is still pleasant, and the summer crowds have thinned out.

How to Get to Odawara Castle

Getting to Odawara Castle is simple.

You can hop on a train from Tokyo to Odawara and then enjoy a quick ten-minute walk from Odawara Station’s East Exit.

Follow Ohoribata Street straight to the castle gates. It’s a pleasant walk that primes you for the historical treat ahead.

Ticket Prices

Visiting Odawara Castle is affordable and well-suited for a variety of budgets. Here’s the breakdown of ticket prices:

  • Castle Keep: 510 yen
  • Ninja Museum: 310 yen
  • Samurai Museum: 200 yen
  • Combo ticket (Castle Keep and both museums): 610 yen

Opening Hours

The castle and museums are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the last entry at 4:30 PM.

Note that they’re closed on the second Wednesday of December and from December 31 to January 1.

It’s always a good idea to check for any special holiday schedules or unforeseen closures before you go.

How Long to Stay There

To fully enjoy all that Odawara Castle has to offer, plan to spend at least 2 hours. This gives you enough time to tour the castle keep, check out the museums, and relax in the gardens.

If you’re combining your visit with other nearby attractions in Hakone, consider extending your stay to a full day. This will allow a more leisurely pace and the opportunity to soak in the tranquil beauty of the area without rushing.

What to Pack

Here’s what you should consider packing for a day at Odawara Castle:

  • Comfortable walking shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Camera or smartphone: For capturing the scenic views and historical sites.
  • Water bottle: Stay hydrated as you explore.
  • Sunscreen and a hat: Protect yourself from the sun, especially in the summer.
  • A small backpack
  • Cash: For entrance fees and small purchases, as some vendors may not accept credit cards.

What to Wear

Dress for comfort and the weather. Lightweight, breathable clothing works well for summer visits, while layers are best for the cooler months.

Comfortable footwear is a must, as you’ll be on your feet most of the day.

Best Local Food and Dining Options

Don’t miss trying local Japanese cuisine while at Odawara Castle.

Nearby, you can find restaurants serving fresh seafood from Sagami Bay, traditional soba noodles, and the famous kamaboko (steamed fish cake), a local specialty.

For a quick and tasty meal, look for eateries around Odawara Station.

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! I hope this guide to Odawara Castle proves invaluable for your journey.

The castle and its surroundings are truly spectacular, offering a unique blend of history, nature, and culture.

Looking for more tips on your travel to Japan or other must-visit spots? Check out my Japan posts for all the insights you need!

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